RINGS (USA/15A/102mins)
Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez. Starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Johnny Galecki, Laura Wiggins, Alex Roe, Matilda Lutz.
THE PLOT: 12 years after the events of The Ring Two, college professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) comes across a mysterious tape in a VCR he bought at a flea market. After watching the tape, Gabriel’s phone rings and he is warned he has just seven days to live. In order to protect himself, Gabriel passes the tape among his students, but when Julia (Matilda Lutz) watches the tape to save her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe), she sees images no-one has ever seen before.
THE VERDICT: ‘Rings’ is the third instalment in the US ‘Ring’ franchise, and not only have all of the actors from the first two films been replaced, it seems great swathes of the ‘Ring’ movie mythology has been altered in order for this sequel to even happen.
The cast is made up of Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan and Laura Wiggins. None of the cast truly get a chance to make their characters anything but one dimensional and stereotypical. We never learn what the characters like and dislike – other than premature death, obviously – and so there is precious little to root for when Samara comes to call.
David Loucka, Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsman have replaced Ehren Kruger as screenwriter on this new instalment in the franchise, and the lack of continuity shows throughout the film. While there are touches of ‘Scream’, ‘Final Destination’, ‘Oculus’ and ‘Don’t Breathe’ scattered throughout the film, these only serve to highlight how derivative and unoriginal ‘Rings’ is, and coupled with a dull and pedestrian story, and precious little actual dread or horror, ‘Rings’ pales in comparison with the truly scary predecessors.
As director F. Javier Gutiérrez never truly manages to get ‘Rings’ moving with any sense of urgency, and with characters that are thinly sketched and scares that are obvious a mile off, Rings’ simply becomes dull and pedestrian. Add to this the overuse of iPhone torches and darkness that make the action on screen almost impossible to see, and it is clear that the ‘Ring’ franchise has run out of steam with this final instalment that could be a reboot.
In all, ‘Rings’ is not scary, suspenseful or particularly engaging. The screenplay messes with the mythology created by the first two films, the characters are dull and the pacing meanders. There is probably a new story to be told of Samara and her curse, but this, with its feel of ‘Final Destination’, ‘Oculus’, ‘Don’t Breathe’ and ‘Scream’, is derivative and, perhaps the worst crime of all for a horror movie, boring.
RATING: 1/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

  • filmbuff2011

    Hideo Nakata’s 1998 J-Horror Ringu introduced a new breed of terror: a cursed videotape featuring Sadako, a long-haired woman crawling out of a TV to terrifying effect. Nothing quite matched the intensity of that first appearance – not even the Hollywood remake starring Naomi Watts. After an absence of 12 years, the American version of Sadako, little girl Samara, returns with Rings.

    After a mildly inventive opening sequence onboard an airplane, the plot settles down to introduce college student Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz). Her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) has disappeared after apparently watching the cursed videotape featuring Samara. The tape has now been digitised and is making its way through various hands, as the curse decrees that it must be passed on within 7 days or death will result. College lecturer Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) is tracking the movement of the recording through various people, including his girlfriend Skye (Aimee Teegarden). He’s trying to find a way to break the link and solve the puzzle as to why the curse continues. In order to protect Holt, Julia watches the recording and sets out to find out what really happened to Samara…

    Shot three years ago and its release delayed several times since late 2015, Rings is typical of an unwanted studio film. Dumped into the frozen wasteland of February, there’s really nothing of note here. Without a quality actor like Watts to drive the plot, director F. Javier Gutierrez instead serves up a dull, tiresome and uninvolving sequel. The plot feels like Screenwriting 101, treating the audience like its new to horror films. Oooh…. what’s that shadow moving in the background? Here’s a musical sting and a quick shot of a petrified face to remind you that you’re watching a horror film… It’s not even remotely scary – which is a crime to a true horror fan like this one.

    What worked so well in Ringu and, to some extent, The Ring was the feeling that something truly evil and unstoppable was ever-present. Rooting the story in a cursed videotape with a shady history allows for some potentially great backstory to explain it all. However, Samara herself gets very little screen-time, reducing a once-terrifying creation into a slithering joke. It doesn’t help that the cast are so one-dimensional either. This reviewer just didn’t care for the characters, as there was no emotional investment. Vincent D’Onofrio turns up late in the film to deliver some background exposition, much like his one in Sinister. However, even he can’t save this film from mediocrity. Rings feels like a cheap knock-off of its predecessors, arriving far too late for the party. Horror has moved on from cheap, silly jump scares and unnecessary sequels. Audiences are smarter than that. Rings belongs in the bargain bin with some old VHS tapes. **

  • Martin

    A reinvented movie of the ring and I wish they didn’t bother. No jump moments as it’s not original at all and we know exactly what to expect. It’s just a recycle of what we have seen before and therefore it’s not new or refreshing in any way. If your a fan of the original then just watch it again instead of watching this rubbish