We have now been blessed with another sequel to the 2002 horror movie The Ring, this one called, originally enough, Rings. Directed by Javier Gutierrez and starring Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki and Vincent D’Onofrio, this supernatural horror fest lacks anything resembling originality and really just goes through the paces set by the original film.
Now speaking of that original film, the 2003 American version directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts was the first time US cinema had remade a Japanese horror film, a tradition which was to continue with such winners as The Grudge, Dark Water and Pulse. I will hand it the crew of that remake because they actually did a good job and certainly scared the hell out of me with The Ring. But all the reasons that The Ring worked are all the reasons that Rings doesn’t, so let’s talk about these.
The story of The Ring actually goes back to a Japanese book first published in 1991. The plot basically goes that a mysterious videotape is found by a reporter which has a macabre history. Anyone who watches it dies seven days afterwards. However, the reporter doesn’t know all this when he first picks it up and starts investigating why there are unexplained deaths connected with it. He eventually discovers that the tape was literally created by the mind of a young woman who was raped and then murdered by being dumped down a well and people who watch this video tape are told in the tape that they have a week to live. When this was made into a movie, the reporter became a woman racing against time after watching this videotape and figuring out from clues in the tape the backstory of its origins, including the fact that the girl who was murdered had powerful psychic abilities. In the US version, this girl is named Samara. Once they figure all this out and get the truth out about Samara’s murder, they think they have lifted the curse. Unfortunately, they are dead wrong and the only way to keep from being killed by the spirit of this dead girl is to make a copy of the tape and have someone else watch it, thus passing on the curse like a kind of spiritual communicable disease.
Now none of this is a spoiler for Rings, because as the third in the series, the audience is expected to go in knowing all this backstory, but in case you don’t it’s all laid out during the course of this sequel. And that’s one of the problems with Rings. This movie comes 13 years after the first American film and so it has to spend half its time re-hashing all the specifics from the original movie about how this whole thing works. Then it introduces a new idea whose stupidity is matched only by its unoriginality. This I won’t spoil for you in case you want to see it, but trust me, it’s nothing special and is basically just re-mixing the plot design from the original story.
What was disappointing is that Johnny Galecki, famously known for playing Leonard in The Big Bang Theory, plays a college professor/scientist who we discover at the beginning of Rings has not only figured out the backstory of the video but is running his own little experiment on the possibilities it presents of proving life beyond death. Now had they pursued that plot line in more detail, there could have been something original brought to the table and we could have seen the limits of Samara’s psychic trickery and perhaps even gotten into more detail about her motivations for being such an evil little minx. Because make no mistake, despite every effort that was made in the original movie to try to help her out, Samara showed in the end that she wasn’t interested in anything except vengeance of the worst kind. I think that if you are going to do a sequel, you need to bring something more than just more vengeance.
In terms of production design, editing and all that – it’s competent but Rings is nothing special. The acting is either stiff and unreal or just plain bad. There are way too many cheap jump scares – I hate those things because they are not scary and the sign of rank amateur directors. Because nothing new is really entered in to the mix, there’s nothing really scary here. We’ve seen it all before and while it worked the first time, it definitely did not get better with age. So on that note, I am giving this movie a rating of Pretty Bad. If you haven’t seen The Ring, I would recommend renting it rather than spending the money going out to see this rehashed crap.
Thanks for coming around and watching. Please like and share this video around the interwebs and if you haven’t yet, subscribe to my channel. See you next time.