“Rings” is Better Off at the Bottom of a Well
In 1998, the Japanese film Ringu sparked a worldwide terror phenomena. It told the story of a cursed VHS tape that would kill anyone who watched it. Four years later, the American version, directed by Gore Verbinski, stayed true to its Japanese origins and it once again scared the pants off of audience members all around the United States. Over a decade later, and the third movie in the Americanized version, Rings, hit theaters on Feb. 3, 2017.
The movie opens with a young man anxiously waiting on a plane. After watching the haunted VHS tape, he believes taking a plane ride will stop his seven day death sentence. However, as one would expect, his story ends in tragedy. Flash forward two years later and Professor Gabriel Brown, played by Johnathan Galecki from the Big Bang Theory, finds the tape and watches it himself. It is then that a modern twist is put into the movie: as opposed to getting someone else to watch the tape, Brown discovers that making a digital copy of the film and having someone else watch the copy results in the curse being pushed onto the new watcher, known as a “tail.” He then starts using his college students as human sacrifices, including the male lead Holt (Alex Roe) and his high school sweetheart Julia (Matilda Lutz).
In order to put a modern twist on the VHS horror classic, Rings focuses on sharing and copying files of the original tape. Having the tape live on through modern technology means is a good idea. The execution of this idea however is less than note worthy. The story itself is bland and contributes nothing new to the original movie, even with the great idea of adding modern technology. Not to mention the characters were horror movie stereotypes that had little to no life in them. All of the actors in the film, particularly Lutz, Galecki, and Roe, tried to breathe life into their characters, however, with flat script writing and little characterization, their attempts were futile.
Overall, as with many horror film sequels, Rings simply cannot live up to the original. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, technology was still a terrifying new world that was developing at a scarily fast pace. Nowadays though, the quick advancement of technology is simply another part of everyday life. Plus, a file that can kill simply doesn’t have the same effect as a VHS tape. Perhaps it’s the constant stream of email chains sent to me through middle school, threatening for a little girl to appear at the end of my bed, but a ghost inhabiting a shared file isn’t that scary. Rings is a generic ghost film that had a great premise, but cracked under the pressure of its original predecessor. Unless you are a die hard fan of the series or have an enjoyment of badly written films, Rings is sure to disappoint. As Holt warned Julia when she was being tricked into watching the film, “DON’T WATCH” is the most sound advice I have about seeing this film.