Connect with us

Movies

[Review] Is ‘Rings’ Worth the 12 Year Wait?

The Ring burst onto the scene 15 years ago and changed the face of modern horror. PG13 horror became the “it” thing for better or worse. Since then we’ve had on onslaught of sub-R spook shows grace the cinemas. Rings brings the tale of Samara back to the big screen, and the big question is whether or not the J-horror import still stands as a relevant boogey-person after all these year?

The answer is…kind of. It would seem the tale of a cursed video tape would be perfect in this age of social media. The idea that something as mundane as a YouTube clip could signal your impending doom is ripe territory for a horror film. Unfortunately, I can’t say that Rings exploits that concept very well. I’ll complement the ad campaign for giving no clear idea as to what exactly Rings is about. The trailers didn’t do a good job of making the film look good, either, but they at least kept some mystery to the proceedings. Ultimately we have an expanded look at the idea of a “Ring cult”(check the short film attached to The Ring Two) where people are watching the video for the good of “science” only to safely pass it on to someone else before their 7 days are up.

This is a great plot device to reintroduce us to the world of The Ring. Only we don’t travel too far down this line of thinking before the main thrust of the story takes effect. It becomes another mystery where our leads race against time (I suppose, they didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry) to uncover some integral part of Samara’s backstory in order to stop the curse. In other words, it’s business as usual.

I’d love to scream “studio interference!” I’d love to say an amazing sequel was railroaded by too many cooks in the kitchen, and perhaps that is the case. However, everything on display moves from a logical “A” to “B” to “Z”. It doesn’t feel chopped/re-cut to death. A matter of  fact, director F. Javier Gutierrez stages moments that toe that delightful line between gruesome and gorgeous. The cinematography playfully begins with bright, sunny pinks before devolving into the rainy blue we’re used to in a Ring film. Scares on the other hand are not his strong suit.

There are two moments that serve to elicit the heebie jeebies and both have been spoiled by the trailer. The first, with Samara crawling out of the television thrown to the floor, shows promise for what the film could have delivered. The second is the final moments that tease what could be an epic follow up. I won’t reveal more about the plot than I already have as it does go in a direction I wasn’t expecting and ultimately serves to answer a question longtime fans of The Ring/Ringu have longed for.

In terms of technical stats, this is a solid work. It’s reported 33 million dollar budget seems a tad absurd as I’m not sure where all the money went, but it’s a slick production. I wish more horror films were made within this modestly-budgeted range. The lead, Matilida Lutz, is a decent enough heroine, though her performance is terribly inconsistent. Oftentimes it sounds as if she’s reading straight from a cue-card. I’d like to think horrid ADR is to blame. Other times, she is spot on. Her hunky boyfriend, Alex Roe, does a great job of…well, being hunky.

After a 12 year wait, Rings is a better film than The Ring Two, but not by much. Where Two was a convoluted mess of ineffective scares, Rings is a slightly coherent mess of tepid scares. I was never bored, but I was never really frightened or even slightly unnerved. Rings focuses more on the plot and mystery and seems less interested in the mood that these films typically excel at.

Rings does end on a high note, though. The final moments open the doors to a potential sequel that could really bring The Ring into modern times in a way that makes Samara relevant again. It’s just a shame this entry takes so long to get there. Rings is far from the complete train wreck we may have expected after so many delays, but it’s not going to bring Samara’s brand of nightmares to the digital age as it should have, either.

2-5skullrating


20 Comments
  • Glitchiee Glitch

    i saw the first one instead of seeing the first saw movie way back in the day … and it was shit. i so regretted not seeing saw (the only really good one of the franchise imo)
    i wouldnt sit through a ring movie if you paid me to do it

    • Saturn

      The first of the American Ring movies is the highlight of the trilogy.
      So if you haven’t seen the 2 sequels? Don’t bother.

    • Jimmy Cthulhuhan

      I think you may’ve confused your hairy japanese import remakes. Ring was released years before Saw, Grudge and Saw came out around the same time… in fact I snuck in to see the last 20 or so minutes of Saw after watching Grudge :-x.

      I on the other hand love The Grudge (and The Ring if I assumed wrong for that matter) and didn’t like Saw 1 except for the ending (pretty disappointed after I finally got to see the rest way later on video). 2 and to a lesser extent 3 were the only good ones imo.

      • Glitchiee Glitch

        i was drunk and being a smartass talking shit about the ring and grudge both being the same annoying shitty movie and both sucking.. in my drunk mind it made sense at the time lol

  • Eleanor Rigby

    I totally agreen with this review. It wasn’t the worse movie ever and there were a lot of things about it that I enjoyed. But watching it last night, I couldn’t help but feel like it was missing something. Or a whole lot of something. It was cool to get more backstory especially with Samara’s birth mom and how she got pregnant and all that. But I felt like thats all the movie was. I wanted a lot more scares and more expansion on Samara’s curse. Especially since it travels online now instead of just VHS. I really liked the Cinematgrapy and references to the other films. Seeing Daveigh Chase again was pretty cool. But that lead actress had me gritting my teeth on a lot of moments. But at least we still have the first one and the first time she crawled out of the TV and had me peeing myself.

    • I think one of the biggest things missing was a driving force for the characters. Once she SPOILER ALERT saves her boyfriend, they didn’t give her a good enough reason to want to push forward. There just wasn’t enough motivation for her to put herself at risk like that. Maybe her backstory did hit the cutting room floor.

  • Russell Nichols

    No. The answer is no.

  • Creepshow

    Zach, I hope you’re not spending your hard earned money on this muck for our sake. If you are, then you’re a champ. For years I have always had zero interest in the countless horror sequels that get shit out. The only one that actually floored me was Exorcist III. And I only watched it because of good word of mouth. I don’t need to be entertained that badly to waste my time with most shitty sequels. Anyways, thanks Zach. And keep up the good work.

    • Well, despite not being too impressed by the trailers, I was curious for my own sake to check it out. It was one of those completely inoffensive movie experiences. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t memorable either. It just exists.

      • Creepshow

        Look at you, checking out the new releases. I thought you normally take a while getting around to seeing newer stuff? I guess you have to be more on the ball with your new gig. lol

    • Evan3

      Have you tried Conjuring 2? I don’t think it’s as good as the first, but definitely more interesting in concept and has a phenomenal scare sequence about a quarter of the way through. I too typically avoid horror sequels, but Conjuring 2 is worth it.

      • Creepshow

        Yes, I have. There are the occasional exceptions to the rule. I’m sure that I will drag myself to see Insidious 4. I like Lin Shaye in the series, and the third one was a pleasant surprise for me. So I’ll see how much more they have left in the tank, I suppose.

  • Saturn

    So I just got back from the cinema having watched a double bill of the new Resi Evil and Rings.
    The Resident Evil movie was much the better movie, by far. BY FAR.

    Rings was dull, lifeless and has probably killed off the inferior American Ring franchise once and for all.
    Don’t waste your cash at the cinema – even if you loved the first 2 – it’s shite.

    • Creepshow

      Did you pay for both movies, or did you sneak into the second one?

      • Saturn

        Umm,,eee,ummmm….

        I must confess I snuck in for Rings.
        Glad I did to be honest……

        But it’s just our little secret……

        To be honest, I did intend on seeing Rings next week (and handing over my cash for it) – but the temptation was too great, and my mate did it and I give in to peer pressure too easily…..

        It really didn’t make much of a difference to the cinema’s taking though, as there were only about 6 other people in the screening with us.

        • Creepshow

          Now Rings is gonna be a financial failure because of YOU .
          I hope you’re happy Mister!

          Your secret is safe with me. But I must warn you, I’ve been known to have severe cases of diarrhea (of the mouth).

  • CalUni

    I’m doing what Saturn did as both Resident Evil and Rings are opening this weekend in Ireland. Not promising feedback so far for Rings! Still can’t resist though! I wonder Zach, based on your review is this new entry ranked second from last on the Rings franchise behind The Ring Two?

    • Yes, I would say The Ring Two and THEN Rings. It’s not great but entertaining enough

  • DarkBree

    The Ring is still the best, the rest sucked.

More in Movies