Review by CJ
F. Javier Gutiérrez
Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio
Other notable appearances:
Watch this if you liked:
The Ring, The Grudge, The Conjuring
College professor Gabriel (Galecki) discovers a videotape that causes anyone who watches it to be tormented and ultimately killed after seven days. Gabriel decides there is a study to be done of this phenomenon and gets students to watch it so that the effects can be observed. When Julia (Lutz) finds out that her boyfriend Holt (Roe) is involved, she will stop at nothing to free him from Samara’s curse.
I was looking forward to seeing Rings not least of all because horror movies with wide cinema release, especially in Australia, are few and far between. Adding to the anticipation is the fact that I also enjoyed the first two movies in The Ring franchise.
All things considered, I must admit that Rings was underwhelming. I loved the idea behind the plot and it felt like a real study that someone somewhere would conduct if they happened across a video with this effect. However, the execution fell flat in many ways.
The scares were predictable down to the letter. Even the faces of those Samara had affected weren’t nearly as startling as they were in the first two films. There were far too many times throughout the film that I found myself actively bored. I didn’t even know active boredom was a thing, but here we are.
The acting was okay for the most part. I did find it particularly distracting that whenever Lutz’s Julia was approaching danger, she started panting heavily and noticeably. I’m not sure if this was something enhanced or encouraged by the director, but the effect was far too humorous for what has previously been a credible horror franchise.
The “twist” ending felt forced and doesn’t leave future instalments of the franchise anywhere to go that won’t be anticlimactic or ludacris. I would have preferred that the clues leading up to the twist were used to help the characters’ initial goal instead.
Overall, Rings doesn’t have the same downright creepy horror feel as its two predecessors. While the basis of the story had great potential, too many flaws get in the way of a good execution. While I’m all for supporting horror in mainstream cinemas, I couldn’t in good conscience recommend anyone pay full price to see Rings. I recommend that die-hard horror viewers or completionists who have seen the first two wait until it’s on DVD or Netflix.