Today, we’re going to talk about something slightly different. A movie. I actually watch quite a lot of movies but I don’t often review them because I forget to. Rings, or Rings 3 as it was marketed here in Cyprus, is an attempt to break that forgetfulness. But also because 1. I saw Rings on Valentines Day with my siblings and 2. there’s something off about the whole thing.
Also the fricking subtitle “Evil Is Reborn” gives away the entire film. Nice one, marketing people. That being said, I’m going to try and avoid spoilers, but if you want to see the film, I recommend doing so first, just in case I screw up.
Firstly, though, it’s worth pointing out that Rings is a rated 15 movie (i.e. it’s for people ages 15 and up). Which in the grand scheme of horror movies, isn’t necessarily a good idea because it means you can’t make the film particularly gory or nasty or anything. There’s also a distinct lack of swearing, although Rings touches on a more adult theme at the end. Kinda.
Let’s start with the good things. The cast is pretty good, and it is amazingly well filmed. The special effects are up to scratch and it’s definitely a visual feast once you get past that over-used video scratchiness. One particular scene involving a vision was particularly well done: as the main character turned around, an abandoned, flooded room turns back in time to how it originally was. The best thing was the main couple (Julia and Holt) and their love story. Julia may have been a standard horror movie character and pretty boring and emotionless, but Holt was genuinely half decent for someone who would have been better suited for a teen sports movie. Their romance wasn’t over the top and wasn’t too sappy either. Would have been better without it, but oh well.
I’m not really sure how this movie fits in with the other Ring movies. I would assume it’s after Ring 2, but considering how Ring 2 ended with whatshername telling her kid it was over and having burnt the video tape, it seems a tad odd that we’re here once again with a scary video. The tape though has leaped into the digital age and can be copied on one’s computer or whatever, which is a nice way to modernize the story, but otherwise it’s the same old Ring premise – you watch the tape, you have 7 days to live unless you can get someone else to watch it. Of course, it being modern, someone had internet access and a biology teacher is now experimenting with it. Said biology teacher is teaching Holt, which is how the teenagers get involved.
Rings does try and add a twist to it. Apparently there’s a movie in the movie. Meant for Julia. It’s a bit chosen-one-y. And overall kinda pointless. If anything, the under-story in which we discover more about Samara gets in the way of the fact that Julia is supposed to be fucking terrified of dying and panicking and all that. The pacing has no sense of urgency.
Then suddenly it turns into Don’t Breathe, at the climax. Why? I don’t know. The events of the climax were pretty predictable, and maybe you hope that things get better for everyone involved apart from the bad person.
But the ending though just… undoes the entirety of the film. The whole film might as well not have happened. Julia’s struggles, the scant information we discover about Samara and her family, the nature of the curse and its potential undoing, it’s all for nothing. Really, the end of the film is just a fuckton of bait for a fourth Ring movie that will probably have the same plot as this one.
The biggest issue though is that Rings just isn’t scary. At all. There’s a handful of decent jump scares, but the film is overly reliant on them. Otherwise, unless you don’t like the horrible look left on the faces of Samara’s victims, or if you dislike water and cicadas, you won’t be scared. At most, you’ll unwillingly jump. That’s it.
THIS TEXT IS SCARIER THAN RINGS.
Seriously, I didn’t feel a twinge of fear. Me and my sister pretty much called out every single jump scare ahead of time, and whenever you do see Samara, she’s just… not that scary. Even at the climax. Actually, it was so not scary that Rings was borderline boring. Many people in the cinema with us were on their phones.
I feel sorry for Johnny Galecki, the guy who plays Lenard in the Big Bang Theory. He was probably the second best character in the film, but his role was rather wasted. If he was in the cinema with us, he’d probably be playing on his phone as well though. So would Vincent D’Onofrio, whose part is acted superbly then completely and utterly wasted for a pretty shitty plot twist.
Really, I can’t help but wonder why they bothered, outside of making money and clinging on to the licensing. Rings brings nothing new to the table, it’s the same old same old. If you want actual new lore, then you might as well go and watch the original version (American or Japanese, your choice) because we’re mostly just covering old ground. The twist at the end could be predicted right at the start, if you know how email works.
I’ll give it a 4/10. Wouldn’t watch it again.