Ring 0: The Birthday is not an awful horror film. A mediocre Carrie rip, it can only be truly reviled as a desecration of the original Ringu's uniquely persuasive and subtle horror. A large part of the original film's power was derived from the opacity of Sadako's character. The film had a gritty, streamlined efficiency and a lack of unnecessary explanation that was perfectly suited to its urban legend plot line. Director Hideo Nakata made his own sequel, Ring 2, which only posed more questions about exactly what Sadako was and how her power manifested itself. Though Ring 0 was written by Kôji Suzuki (who wrote the novel on which Ringu was based), it was directed by Norio Tsuruta, who evidently doesn't have Nakata's vision or his understanding of the genre. In the film's effort to explain exactly who Sadako (Yukie Nakama) is and how she became a powerful evil force, the film heaps contrivance upon contrivance, mixing clichés from backstage melodramas with those from Carrie and all its imitators, and leaving the viewer with little beyond the strength of Nakama's appealing performance and a few mild scares to hang on to.