VIDEO REVIEW: Why Sadako vs. Kayako is an enjoyable crossover

Two of J-horror’s famed ladies, Sadako and Kayako, finally meet to decide who’s the better horror queen.

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The video breakdown of Sadako vs. Kayako

By watching Ray’s video review of Sadako vs. Kayako, you’ll learn things such as…

  • How we approached watching this movie
  • Why this movie is a treat to watch
  • How does the movie work with two curses
  • Why Ray recommends this movie and says it’s highly entertaining
  • The Sadako and Kayako marketing craze in Japan
  • … and more

Of course, we won’t spoil who wins in the end, but can’t wait to see your reactions when you do find out.

After watching Ray’s review of the film, if you want to learn more about Sadako, Kayako, The Ring, and Ju On series, read on.

The showdown between the two horror queens is finally here

The hype for the Sadako vs. Kayako movie was big in Japan (more on that later).

The hype for the Sadako vs. Kayako movie was big in Japan (more on that later).

It was only a matter of time until horror queens Sadako and Kayako would finally face against each other.

The movie Sadako vs. Kayako started off as a joke last year, but was soon introduced as a real movie in December 2015. Seeing the two iconic women fight it out was a long awaited wish from many horror fans and finally a reality.

To horror aficionados, these two long-haired, cursed women need no introduction. But to newcomers to the Asian horror genre, Sadako and Kayako come from the horror movies The Ring and Ju On series respectively.

The 2016 film will immediately conjure up memories of Freddie vs. Jason and with good reason. When Freddie vs. Jason first came out, viewers wanted to know who would win in a fight between the horror baddies.

Sadako and Kayako are no different.

But before we dive into the video review, we have one important question: are you Team Kayako or Team Sadako?

A brief overview on the two franchises

The Ring and Ju On series both debuted in 1998. The two franchises would usher a new a new wave of Japanese horror. Here’s a quick breakdown on the two series.

the ring vs. ju on quick facts 2


Quick facts
Number of movies in the series: 11
Name of long-haired woman: Kayako
Curse: Entering a cursed house will have two ghosts chase you unless…
Cure to the curse: …None, you’re screwed once you enter the house
How they usually kill: Crawling down stairs and on the floor

the ring vs. ju on quick facts 1

The Ring

Quick facts
Number of movies in the series: 6 (with 2 shorts)
Name of long-haired woman: Sadako
Curse: Watching a cursed tape will give you a curse that will kill a victim in 7 days unless…
Cure to the curse: …The victim has someone else watch the cursed tape
How they usually kill: Coming out of the TV

If you’re want to learn more about the Ju On and The Ring video reviews, check out our Ring vs. Ju On series comparison.

The plot in a nutshell


When university student Yuri sees a VCR tape in a thrift store, she decides to watch it with her friend Natsumi. However, as soon as they pop in the tape and watch it, they become cursed with the Sadako curse. They realize this when they get a follow up call.

Meanwhile, a high-school student, Suzuka, stumbles into the Saeki house to investigate an urban legend of a brutal murder inside. She is soon cursed with the Kayako curse.

Soon after, a young psyhic girl named Tamao, and Keizo, hear about Yuri and Suzuka’s recent curses and want to lift them. Yet, they realize that the best way isn’t necessarily to cure them of it, but to find a way to get Sadako and Kayako to fight and kill each other off.

Curses and the urban legends of Ju On and The Ring

To fit the story's timeline better, the Sadako curse only gives victims two days to live now.

To fit the story’s timeline better, the Sadako curse only gives victims two days to live now.

The film’s director Koji Shiraishi changed things up for this film. Rather than stick with the rules of the two series, he emphasized the story instead and how that would dictate the rules instead.

For instance, to speed up the movie, the Sadako curse was changed. Rather than having seven days to show the video to another in The Ring series, it was changed to a mere two days. This keeps the victims on edge and makes their dire situation more urgent.

The Ju On and The Ring curses are well-known. Rather that being a mystery or rumor in both series — and getting many people killed investigating or stumbling upon them, the curses are urban legends in the Sadako vs. Kayako film.

Promotion and marketing of the film

Like Kayako in Ju On, once you’ve seen one poster of the film, the movie’s marketing will follow you everywhere like a bad curse. At least in Japan. No expense was spared when hyping up the film.

One of the more memorable marketing moments was seeing Sadako vs. Kayako going at it on the baseball field. Toshio came out to the field to watch the two as well.

The laughter and cheering from the crowd showed that not only thought the idea was funny, but most likely, will also bring that same crowd to the movie theaters at release.

Just one question: how did Sadako see through all her hair when throwing the pitch?

When they're not killing people in their house, they're just like every other family having breakfast.

When they’re not killing people in their house, they’re just like every other family having breakfast.
Credits: Kayako with Toshio Instagram

The Sadako vs. Kayako baseball showdown in Japan was so popular, they came over here in Korea. Here’s their Korean showdown in a game between the SK Wyverns and Doosan Bears.

Another key marketing strategy is picking sides. Having a Team Kayako or Team Sadako tag trending — similar to Captain America: Civil War’s two sides, Team Cap or Team Ironman — gives J-horror fans the difficult choice on which team to support.

Instagram also plays host to Kayako and her son Toshio, where you see them in various poses and funny pictures.

If Instagrams, hashtags, and baseball games are not enough, the movie even has an official music video. The theme song “The Cursed Shananana“ shows Sadako, Kayako, and Toshio dancing away.

Here’s also a live version in Shibuya of dancing Sadakos and Kayakos:

The strengths of the film

While the victims will be trying to rid themselves of the curses, make no mistake, Sadako and Kayako are the true stars here.

While the victims will be trying to rid themselves of the curses, make no mistake, Sadako and Kayako are the true stars here.

The decision to make this movie less of a horror movie and more of a campy tribute to the two queens of horror paid off very well.

There are many things this film gets right. The theme of long hair sprawling through the film; the beautiful environment; a relative simple and clean story; and of course, the fight between Sadako and Kayako. These things make the movie a surprising and entertaining watch.

While this film won’t win any acting awards — as the acting at certain points are bad — the acting is passable for a movie.

One thing is for certain though. The movie really is a craft of love towards the J-horror fans.

What’s your take?

We hope our movie review and breakdown of the film gets you hyped for the film.

If you haven’t seen the movie just yet, what are you expecting from the film? If you’ve seen the film, what’s your take?

We’d love to hear from you, so let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Jason Yu


Jason is all about Asian films, as he especially likes the horror, thriller, crime, and war genres. For some odd reason, he likes bad movies too. When he's not watching Asian movies, he's playing video games or working in the Korean music industry as media in Seoul, Korea. If you're interested in Korean music, check out his other site at Popsori.

About the Author

Raymond Arcega


Follow Ray on Twitter and chat with a fellow cinema nut. He also tweets about tokusatsu, assorted geekery, and life and adventures in Japanland.

  • darklordofgorgoroth

    You mixed up the quick facts about Ju-On and Ringu! Ju-On is the cursed house and Ringu is the videotape…. Also, the Ju-On series has 8 movies in addition to the 2 shorts that predates the made-for-tv movies.

    • Oops, thanks so much for pointing those out! They’re fixed now, so hopefully the post is accurate now.

      • darklordofgorgoroth

        No probs 😉

  • From what he said, it’s a pity. I would love it to be more of an unintentional comedy (as I don’t believe there’s anything else for a movie of this kind to be), like in”it’s so bad it’s good”, but in the end it sounds as boring as Freddie X Jason.