Rings is the third instalment of the franchise telling the story of Samara, the girl of the well, who comes out of the screen to scare people to death; it’s directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, a Spanish young director with a thing for horror cinema and Alfred Hitchcock, in particular.
When I first saw the trailer of Rings I was immediately sure the movie was going to be an absolute train wreck, something along the line of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Instead, it’s surprisingly watchable and even enjoyable at points. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a good movie either.
Rings picks up 15 years after the events of the first movie, the 2002 reboot of the Japanese Ringu (1998), pretending the second instalment never existed. And honestly, we all wish it didn’t.
This time around, we follow Julia (played convincingly by Matilda Luz) and her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) dealing with Samara and her 7-days-till-you-die kind of deal. The only detour in comparison with The Ring is that the tape is replaced by digital videos on the Internet, smartphones and what not. Welcome to the 21st century, Samara.
There is also a subplot where a Professor, awfully portrayed by The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, tries to solve the mystery behind the Samara’s killings by undergoing his students to the murderous video and, consequently, making them die. Congrats Professor, you’re a dumbass.
Although the movie came out some weeks ago, I don’t want to dive too much into the plot or giving away the ending, just in case you haven’t seen it and you really want to. What I can say is that Rings is not as awful as I expected it to be: it features a fairly executed dreadful atmosphere, nice locations, a main character who’s portrayed quite well, in a reasonably compelling way and a final twist which, although making no sense whatsoever in the Ring universe, is quite refreshing and a bit unexpected (as long as you have not seen the trailer…).
However, the pace is really – and uselessly – slow, the tension is shrunk by the absence of urgency – contrarily to the first American film – and the characters are dull and idiotic, apart from Julia and Blake, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, whose purpose I can’t explain without spoiling the entire story.
Before I give you my final thoughts on the movie, let me just say that I went into this film with no expectations. Not just because the trailer is simply laughable and ridiculous, but also because I’m not a big fan of the franchise. If you analyse the 2002 American The Ring, as well as the original Ringu, getting rid of the hype, the result is a quite forgettable product, based on an intriguing idea that should have made for a good short, not for a feature length movie. It’s an unpopular opinion, I know, I just hope you will not hate me for it.
Back to Rings, it’s a quite entertaining film, one you can switch your brain off and enjoy for what it is: a disposable, little movie with some interesting ideas and some other dumb execution choices. Cheers!