Movie Review: ‘Rings’
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Cast: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio
Plot: A high school couple begins a long distance relationship when he head off to college, but when he drops out of contact she goes looking for him. She uncovers a sinister experiment involving Samara’s cursed video and is forced to delve into Samara’s past.
Review: The Ring really sets itself up for a slew of sequels. The horror element comes in the form of a curse that must be passed on, meaning that new characters can pick it up. It has a distinct style that can be applied to new settings and situations. It has an untold history to delve into. The VHS aspect can be explored with changing communication technology. It’s all right there!
The Ring 2 was a surprising bomb considering everything it had going for it, so it makes sense to put the series on hold and try again later. That brings us to Rings. New cast, new setting. We open with the really attention grabbing sequence from the trailer involving Samara attacking an airplane and it turns out to be a stand alone scene that has little impact on the rest of the story, so never mind.
Then we have Julia and Holt who are a teenage couple and that’s the extent of their character. While Holt is off at college they keep in frequent contact on Skype. When Holt is out of touch for about 10 minutes Julia immediately heads for the college to launch an investigation. Whilst there everyone acts suspiciously and she uncovers a dodgy experiment where an evil professor is exposing students to the cursed video and they then have to pass it on to someone else. It’s worth noting that the evil professor is played by Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard on The Big Bang Theory. Even with the dodgy beard it’s impossible to take him seriously in this role because he happens to play Leonard in The Big Bang Theory. I’m sure he’s capable of other roles but at this point in his career it’s hard to see him as anything else. There are only three other men in the business I would consider less intimidating in the role of a creepy professor.
Anyway…it turns out the boyfriend was alive and the story up until that point is pretty useless. It also turns out there’s a video hidden in the original video with a new set of clues. Julia and Holt set out to discover what happened to Samara’s body. This is a touch confusing because I thought we’d already done that.
This also goes into who Samara’s mother was and why they were all angry and evil and stuff. The path led by the clues in the video isn’t half as interesting as that in the first film, especially as most of the twists are in the trailer, and the director thinks the audience is stupid and spells everything out for them. It feels less like we’re part of an investigation, watching the clues unravel, and more being strung along a path.
The biggest crime of Rings isn’t the boring story or the pointless characters. It’s how scary it is. Or more to the point, how not scary it is. There wasn’t a single genuinely scary moment in the film. Rather than build up suspense or challenge expectations and relies on the audience remembering how scary the first film was…a film that came out 15 years ago.
This is a poor attempt to reinvigorate a floundering horror series. Should’ve let this corpse stay buried.
Rating: TWO out of TEN