Director: F. Javier Gutierrez
Writers: David Loucka, Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsman
Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, and Vincent D’Onofrio
Synopsis: A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in 7 days.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
When the American remake of Ringu came out in 2002, the film found an instant following because of the overall creep and disturbing factor. Of course, the mythology of the film was enough to grab you and pull you: you watch a creepy VHS tape, you then get a phone call with a voice telling you seven days and then you die. The Ring started the horror film remake craze – for better or worse – and became a cult favorite. Now, after all these years – and its sequel – Rings has been released and while usually the wait it worthwhile, it was not the case for this.
After an interesting opening involving an airplane, Rings jumps to our main characters. We start with professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), who along with one of his students, Skye (Aimee Teegarden), finds an old VCR and take it home. Gabriel eventually discovers a tape is stuck inside and continues to watch it – of course us the audience knows what it is: Samara’s tape. We then jump to Julia (Matilda Lutz) and her off to college boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe), who are saying their last goodbyes. After a few weeks, Holt isn’t returning any of Julia’s messages, but she gets a weird message from Skye. Julia takes it upon herself to go find Holt and finds out Holt has gotten himself involved in something he shouldn’t have. What follows is Julia eventually watching the video and discovering a new threat that changes everything we know about the mythical tape that kills you after seven days.
So after the long wait, and the delay – the film was supposed to come out last year: twice – Rings doesn’t really live up to the wait, and to the promise the film tries to convince you of at the beginning of the film. There’s a rather odd new concept introduced to the film that is spearhead by Galecki’s Gabriel that is somewhat makes sense after two films, but one that I kind of wish we had more time with. Galecki also does his best to not make it come off as cheesy, which it easily could have.
When it comes to the other cast members, I don’t know if it has anything to do with them or the script, but every other thing came off as bland. They do have their moments, but the lack of real emotion at times hurts a lot of the scenes they’re in. Lutz’s character Julia has a “sub-plot” that is mentioned and never mentioned again, ever. I assume it was to show us what kind of person she is, and it somewhat pays off later, but they could have gone without mentioning the little tidbit at the beginning. Alex Roe as Holt feels like he has the same expression on his face the whole time, and Aimee Teegarden, who only has a small amount of screen time is actually really good, and I wish she could have been in it more.
Galecki, like I mentioned, does the best he can with what he’s given, and actually looks like he gives a damn. Vincent D’Onofrio pops in as a blind character that knows about Samara and tries to veer Julia and Holt away from whatever they think they have a lead on. D’Onofrio might actually be the best character in the film, but stumbles near the end. Finally, Bonnie Morgan plays Samara, who actually did uncredited work on The Ring 2 as Samara (the crawling up the well scene). Sadly, Samara isn’t in the film nearly enough as she should be. Sure the film is about Julia trying to once again figure out why this video is so damn dangerous, but we should see Samara a lot more than we should.
The film itself also leaves a lot to be desired. I kept my expectations low, like I always do, but even more so for Rings merely because it honestly didn’t look that great. The film does have some creepy moments, but lacks the real sense of dread and disturbing factor the first film had, which made it so damn great. Rings doesn’t have any real sense of urgency, which seems kind of dumb to say considering, you know, you’ve been told you have seven days to live. Moreover, Rings often times is rather boring when it’s trying to build up its mythology.
All in all, despite some cool shots Rings is not worth the long wait. The film doesn’t do anything to really further the mythology of the killer video. Sure they add a new concept, but it’s never really established enough to make it worthwhile.
1.5 out of 5