Hideo Nakata, master of the Japanese Asian suspense wave, director of the original Ringu and international horror icon supreme. What most people don't know though is that Nakata's Ringu was just the international trendsetter. About 7 years prior to the release of Ringu, it was Norio Tsuruta who kicked off the Asian ghost rage with Honto ni Atta Kowai, a Japanese horror anthology series (in which Nakata did participate by directing one of the sequels).
Still, Nakata did earn his stripes and has been a constant in the Japanese horror scene ever since. When Tsuruta disappeared from the scene after the Honto ni Atta Kowai series faded away, Nakata continued to work hard, releasing Joyu-Rei (Ghost Actress, a film that would later get a remake by Fruit Chan) in 1996. It paid off big time when he released Ringu two years later. Nakata went on to direct the Ringu sequel and scored another international hit with Honogurai Mizu no Soko Kara (Dark Water), still one of his best films to date.
Nakata's international ventures (The Ring 2 and Chatroom) weren't big successes, though Chatroom in particular did deserve a better fate. His attempts to break himself loose from the horror scene (Last Scene, Garasu no No) didn't fare any better, which probably explains why Nakata is now back in Japan, releasing horror titles at a rather steady, if not blistering pace. His overall best film is Kaidan, a rather obscure but interesting take on the classic Kaidan horror, his worst is Honto ni Atta Kowai Hanashi, though it's a must see for people interested in the roots of the modern Asian suspense wave.
I'm not the biggest Hideo Nakata fan as I never truly liked the Japanese suspense wave, but if you're into horror you owe it to yourself to at least try out some of his films, as they played a big part in defining the Asian horror scene.
Best film: Kaidan (4.0*)
Worst film: Honto ni Atta Kowai Hanashi: Jushiryou (Curse, Death & Spirit) (1.0*)
Average rating: 2.71 (out of 5)