Finally caught up with Nakata's film (preparatory to seeing the remake), and it seems to me it's a kind of correction to the coldness of his characters in Ringu. The mother-daughter relationship is the focus on this film, and not the horror-film plot; if anything, I think it's a step forward for Nakata, where he's able to use his trademark atmospheric horror to sharpen the drama of the mother's struggle to keep and protect her child (I can see where he cannibalized from this film to make his Ring Two--which, despite the thrown-together quality, I think is superior to Gore Verbinski's remake/prequel).
There is a plot flaw, which I was able to dismiss, but which could make or break someone's acceptance of the film: Nakata introduces a subplot where everything could be the mechanition of one of the supporting characters, then towards the end of the film suddenly drops this possibility outright.
But the picture feels emotionally satisfying; even the epilogue seems as much a means of closure for both mother and daughter as it is an atmospheric coda. The final ten minutes are suitably unsettling, and the full meaning behind the title (the English one, anyway) suitably gruesome. Even the final appearance of the horror/creature, which leaves something to be desired, is vindicated I think by the wordless exchange between mother and daughter, just before the climactic resolution.
Onwards to the remake, which hasn't garnered very good notices. Let's see for ourselves...