I started my week-long RING-athon last night by watching RING VIRUS for the first time. Far from being a "by the numbers" remake, as I've heard it was, this was an imaginative re-telling of the Nakata's film and in some ways genuinely improved upon it. In particular, this film had the most satisfying background story of the three RING incarnations. To have the Sadako character killed by her step-brother/lover provides a different sort of edginess to the film, and to make her a hermaphrodite makes the film much more subversive than its Japanese and American cousins. Rather than seeing the same events replayed in a different form, I'm finding that this film is giving me much more to think about than I bargained for, particularly with its questions about sexual identity. That said, I found the Sadako video to be the most disappointing of the three films, and the final scene is probably the least intense.
My understanding is that the novel contains the same sort of revelation about Sadako's sexuality. Can anyone confirm this?