The release of Rings was an unexpected one for me. It’s been 15 years since the original was shown to me in error at the tender age of 10 years old, and the genuine terror it caused me meant it may have been forgotten but never forgiven. When I heard there was to be a 2017 sequel, I was very excited to see it and convinced it would be another powerful and horrifying story for a new generation of underage moviegoers. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The film starts off promising enough. For anyone who has seen the first two, the premise is a creepy video tape that, once watched, results in a phone call from some ghostly voice promising your life will end in seven days. Rings introduces us to a dodgy university lecturer who finds the tape and recruits a bunch of naive, hipster university students to participate in his afterlife experiment. He finds a hole in the matrix that means if you can get someone else to watch the video within your seven days, the curse gets passed to them and you walk free. Unfortunately, this get-out-of-jail-free card has a slight hiccup once it lands on devoted girlfriend, Julia, and her only hope of surviving is by getting to the bottom of Samara’s mother’s fucked-up life. Upon this realisation, queue 60 minutes of predictability and an utterly dull storyline.
Without ruining the riveting(!) plot too much, Rings is a lot like a number of other nameless, faceless horror movies I’ve seen over the past few years; small village with a secret, visions of dead girls, an evil priest – I haven’t yawned so much during a film in my entire life or been as disappointed. We follow Julia and her stupid boyfriend back to where it all started, before Samara. They visit a couple of locations that are significant to Samara’s mother’s fucked-up life, which encourage the one and only emotive part of the storyline – sympathy for Samara and a begrudged understanding of how she could go on to horrifically murder loads of people. The film does seem to move quite quickly over the plot, though, so any emotional response is quickly forgotten, courtesy of another cheap scare.
Waiting 15 years to release a bog-standard movie seems like a lengthy commitment, and I can’t believe anyone would come back to taint the legendary status of the original two. The two main characters – Julia, played by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz (a slightly excessive name, if I may point out) and Vincent D’onofrio as the blind priest – are barely given the opportunity to develop a real connection with the audience, and neither had any show-stopping memorability. I’d also figured out the ending with at least 45 minutes to go, and I’m not even particularly bright.
In summary, it was a pretty shit movie. It felt like it had been scraped together last minute to coincide with its 15 year anniversary, rather than the cause of the long hiatus being genius at work. For anyone watching this film as the first in the series, it saddens me to think they’ll never know, or bother to find out, how revolutionary the first movie really was. But I’m not angry; just disappointed.
Reviewed by Ashleigh Davis.