REVIEW: Rings (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster - Paramount Pictures
Theatrical Release Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of Rings – Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez

First you watch it, then you die – I guess that is one way to market your movie. The first American remake of the popular Japanese film Ringu (which was an adaptation of a Japanese horror novel) was actually quite successful and effective. Gore Verbinski’s The Ring was absolutely terrifying, but I don’t think anyone will think as highly of Gutiérrez’s Rings. I don’t exactly hate the seemingly pessimistic tagline, but I really dislike the film.

Rings is the third film in the American Ringu-franchise, and the first of these not to feature Naomi Watts. Rings instead follows Julia (played by Matilda Lutz) and her boyfriend Holt (played by Alex Roe). Holt has just left for college, but when he stops responding to Julia’s calls and text messages, Julia travels to his University and finds out that Holt is missing. She soon discovers that Holt is involved in a dangerous experiment involving the cursed video.

I know that I’ve already stated that I dislike the film, but the one thing I did like about Rings is that it tried something new. It wasn’t just the same cursed video movie that we pretty much know what to expect from. It actually did try to do something new. It pushed the film series in a different direction with some interesting and different narrative choices. Unfortunately, these new directions have all been done better in other horror films.

At times, it felt like the filmmakers had seen the trailer for It Follows, heard the premise for Don’t Breathe, and watched a couple of minutes of a Flatliners DVD, and just decided to use those films’ great ideas to make Rings stand out from the other films in the film series. It has been said that good artists copy and great artists steal, but this is just too much. When you start to notice what has been stolen from Don’t Breathe, I imagine it’ll be tough to take the film seriously.

I knew this movie was in trouble when I started rolling my eyes and looking for the emergency exit in the movie theater. At one point, I just wanted to go home, but I did stay and I did finish the film. I just don’t think the film improved. Rings is riddled with plot exposition, soulless characters, and, sadly, it’s just not that scary.

Rings is a really boring and forgettable sequel in a film series that has previously terrified me and kept me up at night. Rings does try new things – and there are some interesting things about it – but it just isn’t a particularly scary movie. It tried too hard to rebuild and revamp the mythology, and thus forgot to add the chilling scenes that the cursed video series is known for. The most memorable thing about this film is an awful umbrella jump scare.

2 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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