Tuesday, March 14, 2017
* spoilers *
Julia sees her boyfriend Holt off to college while she stays home for her senior year. When a frantic woman contacts her through Holt's Skype account saying he's missing, she makes an impromptu trip to his college and doesn't receive a warm welcome. Holt is missing and his friends refuse to talk to her beyond telling her to leave. After snooping around and encountering a lying professor named Gabriel, she discovers that he is conducting an experiment involving the infamous Ring video that kills you a week after you watch it. The experiment also included Holt. Can she find him and save him from Samara?
Rings is only slightly better than The Bye Bye Man only because a few scenes are actually effective. When Gabriel watches the video, he looks out the window and notices the rain is falling up. A fly that had been flying around the room is now on the other side of the window when he tries to crush it. It's little things being off kilter like this that makes an atmosphere. When Skye is set to be killed by Samara, modern CGI makes her look scarier. Of course Skye tries to destroy her flat screen TV, but while it's face down on the floor, water comes pouring out of it. Samara lifts it and crawls over, looking like she's in the VHS with static and tracking errors. Very cool. The only other good thing is Vincent D'Onofrio because he's always good.
So much of the film is boring, horrible, or nonsensical. The beginning starts with Samara killing an entire plane of people. I thought this meant she was raising the stakes and expanding her rules, but she never kills a large group of people again. Gabriel's experiment has a lot of holes in it. It's never shown how Gabriel knows that he has to make a copy or that he has to have someone else watch it. Each person in his study seems to wait to the very last second to have their "tail" watch the video, which is asinine and supposed to create tension but fails. The video is now digital and when Julia copies it (to show she is so special), a video in the metadata is revealed inside the video. They wanted to introduce an new creepier video and thought of a ridiculous way to do it. I can't muster any emotion for any of these characters. The young actors, namely Matilda Lutz and Alex Roe as Julia and Holt, were about as animated as cardboard with no emotional connection.
My other problem with the film is how much it rehashed material from previous films. Again, a person is investigating Samara's past and finds a family member. We already know about Samara's past. We already know that Samara is inherently evil in life and in death, so no placement of her body is going to fix her or make her move on. It doesn't even make any sense for Julia to investigate. The film's pace stagnates and drags. The film ends with Julia turning into Samara and Samara sending the video to everyone at her school. Two things are wrong with this. First, Samara seems to be doing just fine with no body, so why would she want to be restricted to one vessel. Second, Samara uses e-mail and instant messages to send the video. Why not Twitter and Facebook? It would spread faster and just looks like the people who conceived of this part of the film aren't technologically savvy. Rings is a boring, infuriating film that brings nothing new to the horror genre.
My rating: 1/5 fishmuffins