Friday, July 14, 2017
DIRECTOR: F. Javier Gutierrez
Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz
Chuck David Willis
Patrick R. Walker
Carter decides to travel home on the seventh day after he has watched the notorious Samara videotape. Samara manages to kill Carter and everyone on board the plane. A uni lecturer named Gabriel and his girlfriend Skye end up purchasing Carter's VCR player from a small flea market which contains the copy of Samara's videotape. This will bring together a group of students known as 'The Sevens' who are all involved in an experiment with the cursed video, and a much darker discovery awaits them.
I remember when I initially went into Naomi Watt's remake of The Ring back in 2002, I had no idea what to expect when I watched the movie as I was completely unaware of the original Japanese film Ringu at that time. I was roughly twelve years old when Hideo Nakata released Ringu and sixteen years old when the remake made its debut on screens. At this point in my life, I was only just discovering and starting out with foreign horror cinema when the remake was released, so I was lucky if I even knew what the whole J-Horror craze was at this point.
Coming out of the remake of The Ring, I was left shaken and thoroughly creeped out by what I had witnessed. Gore Verbinski had directed a genuinely scary yet gorgeous looking horror film. It also helped that Naomi Watts was the lead and the rest of the cast were also excellent in the movie as well. The word Remake is a pretty ugly word in the realm of cinema these days, but every now and then, one actually gets it right and knocks it out of the park. The Ring was one of them that worked very well.
After watching the remake, I started diving into the whole J-Horror genre and began tackling all of the New French Extremity films. I soon discovered that other countries were out there doing it better than the good old US of A. My adoration of and for the foreign horror movie was born. I think the remake of The Ring was one of the reasons that I started getting into it as it shone a light on the original for me. Once The Ring Two came out, things took a pretty big nosedive with the series, and it seemed like it had quietly faded away into complete oblivion.
Here we are twelve years on, and we all know that in Hollywood, nothing ever really stays dead and buried forever. An executive at Paramount Pictures thought that the Ring franchise was ready for a revival. When Rings was announced, I was excited to see what they would do with the next story, but once the reviews started coming in, things looked pretty grim. I still went into the latest movie with some hope that the overall critical consensus was wrong on this one, but sadly, they were right this time and Rings is a mess.
Before seeing Rings in theatres, I had listened to a podcast with the director F. Javier Gutierrez. As I was listening to him, I got a sense that things may have turned sour between the studio and the director himself. Was studio interference a big problem in the final vision? Did the studio come down on a director who was working on his first big-budget Hollywood movie? Was the studio always unhappy with the script? I'm not sure, but the outcome wasn't a positive experience. I think there are some excellent ideas that have been added to the mythology but the execution wasn't handled very well at all.
The positive aspects of Rings are the fact that they've managed to go with the times and they have given us lots of updated ways that the cursed tape is able to be copied between people. With the advances in technology, I also enjoyed that this wasn't just televisions that Samara can emerge from in this movie. I also enjoyed the addition of 'The Sevens' and the whole tail and copying and passing on the curse subplot. I think both those elements worked well in the film. This is where it pretty much ends for me with Rings.
The negatives outweigh the positives here. The pacing of Rings was painful. This film is awfully slow. There were times during the second half where our main character is following her visions of Samara and her mother's backstory where I was drifting off in the cinema. I was actually starting to fall asleep, and for me, that's never a good sign in a horror film. I also thought the build-up to the reveal of who Samara's father was and the inevitable full circle of the whole rebirth and the reborn twist was predictable. The fact these words were used so much in the promotion, it's not hard to see where this film would end up.
Rings also isn't very exciting with it's set pieces. I found the opening plane attack a little mean-spirited. I get that it was showing us that Samara can now get to any of the victims who are cursed but the plane crashing and killing everyone on board felt somewhat out of place. We do have a standout scene where Samara comes out of a flat screen television that was used heavily in the promotion of the film. Towards the third act, we also have a scene that felt so similar to Don't Breathe which involves a blind man turning off the lights that it almost bordered on being directly lifted from that film.
I found that Rings also lacked in scares and tension. Not once did I really jump out of my skin or feel very frightened during the running time. The biggest jump scare feels like a direct copy of the final jump scare from The Ring. It's all pretty predictable. The movie feels like it lacks any real disturbing elements that I think the original had. Like the mother suffocating her own daughter and sending her down the well or even the horse on the boat scene. This is pretty dry when it comes to scares, tension or even violence.
Lastly, the acting was hit and miss for me. Johnny Galecki who is probably the most famous one in the cast if you don't include Vincent D'Onofrio but both pretty stale in my eyes. The standouts for me are Matilda Lutz and Aimee Teegarden. Both of these actresses do the best with what they are given, and while some of their actions come off as stupid character decisions, I still think both of them were decent enough. Alex Roe is an Australian actor who I have seen in other films, and he is likable but again, his character isn't given much to do here, and he is left to just left to come in and out where he needs to try and help his girlfriend out.
DEATH TOLL: 4 + 100's In Plane Crash.
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A plane crash kills everybody on board.
- People are killed by Samara.
- A couple of shots of people's distorted death faces.
- A woman is attacked and beaten by a blind man.
- Someone is electrocuted to death.
- Someone almost chokes to death on hair.
- Skin pulled from someone's hand.
- A child's bones are found in a wall.
Rings is a movie that I had high hopes for as I enjoyed the original and the remake. While I wasn't a big fan of The Ring Two, I still thought this latest movie might be a positive return for the franchise. Sadly, Rings is a mess. The story builds to this silly conclusion, the twist is pretty predictable, the pacing is extremely slow, the movie lacks tension and scares, and the acting is hit and miss. The positive is a few new additions to the mythology and one or two neat set pieces. Other than that, I think we may never see a Rings 4.