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Rings, the long-delayed third entry in The Ring horror franchise, is directed by F. Javier Gutierrez, stars Johnny Galecki and a brand new cast. Although Rings has been advertised as sequel its’ really more of a soft reboot aimed directly towards the young adult demographic, as opposed to the die-hard horror lovers who most likely own The Ring on DVD and re-watch it frequently. A mistake that makes this film at times, painful to watch.
As shown in the trailer, Rings opens on a plane. A nervous passenger feels the need to explain to another passenger that he watched a cursed video tape that is supposed to kill you in seven days, and this was his final hours. Basically explaining verbatim the entire concept of The Ring, as if we won’t have it explained to us again in five minutes, and awkwardly using this plot device to bring the tape back into modern rotation. Soon after Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) and his girlfriend Skye (Aimee Teegarten), pick up the passenger’s belongings at a yard sale, which conveniently includes a VCR that contains the deadly tape.
Meanwhile, Holt (Matt Roe) is going off to college and leaving his girlfriend Julia (Matilda Lutz) for the first time. Holt and Julia have been communicating every day when all of a sudden he disappears. After Julia receives a cryptic skype message from Skye from Holt’s computer, she runs off to his college to try to find him. After a series of clues, Julia discovers that Holt was participating in a secret society of students, led by Gabriel, a professor at the university. The students were watching the tape and studying the effects. In order to keep from dying seven days after watching the tape, the students need to find a tail, a person to whom can show the video to in order to prevent their deaths. It turns out Holt was running because he had yet to find a tail. While he is sleeping, Julia watches to the tape in order to save Holt, and they both set out on a quest to save her and prevent more people from dying.
The first Ring, as well as the original Japanese Ringu, were both well made psychological horror films. There were hardly any jump scares and the images in the tape were placed front and center, which made the films itself more genuinely creepy. The shot of the girl walking out of the television is burned into your brain long after you leave the theater. The slower parts built tension and made the audience ask questions. Although Naomi Watts is the heroine in the first film, you never really got the feeling that she was free from danger, which keeps the audience even more on edge. While she’s on her journey, terrible things happen that make you wonder about her and her son’s fate. In Rings, the creepy images were barely shown. The film is almost like two films clumsily mashed together into one, so you don’t get to know the characters. And almost immediately, from the first scene, they continuously make bad decisions. With no sympathy for the characters, as well as tension being non-existent, it’s almost impossible to invest in this film.
Rings should not have been made. The cold open on the plane is beyond awful and it only goes downhill from there. The writers’ basically sent the two main characters on the same quest that Naomi Watts went on in the first one, except the quest was longer and uneventful. It’s hard to watch because the movie just did not know what to do with itself. It wants to be other horror movies (Final Destination, Don’t Breathe, and the original Ring) that result in the most generic predictable ending one can imagine. It even starts out with a more interesting concept (secret student society) that they abandon within a few minutes.
The lead actors are terrible, not compelling to watch in the slightest, and they both seem like they spend a lot of time wandering aimlessly in the woods jumping at imaginary things. The movie that we get is just flat out boring with no cool special effects, great villains, or surprise ending to save it.
Please avoid this movie at all costs. It’s dumb and boring.