This post contains RINGS spoilers.
Turn away now.
You have been warned.
As you’ve surely noticed, it’s not uncommon for trailers to totally misrepresent the movies they’re trying to get you interested in seeing, but what’s strange about Rings is that the movie itself is actually way better than its clearly-intended-for-teen-audiences marketing. Oddly enough, the trailers mostly contain snippets from a very small handful of scenes, presenting a movie about a young woman who has watched the cursed tape and is being pursued by Samara; this is not entirely untrue, but it barely scratches the surface of the ambitious storyline explored by Rings.
I dug Rings quite a bit. And I’m as shocked to type that as you probably are to read it.
So the trailers for Rings weren’t great, we’ve established that much, but what’s even worse is that they completely spoil the final act reveal. The film centers on Julia, a young woman who watches the cursed VHS tape; and it’s a different version than we’ve ever seen before. Everything about her viewing experience deviates from the norm, right down to the post-viewing phone call. When she answers the phone, Julia begins to have visions, and then the phone gets white-hot and burns a strange marking into her hand. We soon learn that the marking is actually a word… in braille.
In the film, it’s not until the very final moments that we learn what was clearly stated and explicitly SHOWN in the trailers: the word is “Rebirth,” revealing that though we thought Samara was leading Julia on a discovery to help bring her peace and put an end to the curse, she was actually manipulating Julia into freeing her and allowing her to, well, enter the young girl’s body. In the final moments of Rings, Samara is indeed reborn through Julia, suggesting that the next sequel (Rings 2? The Ring Four?) will be something of a body-horror film. Sign me the hell up.
Granted, we’re not talking some Shyamalan-level twist here, but that the trailers went out of their way to completely spoil Samara’s true intention is the perfect example of how problematic movie trailers have become. Sure, you could argue that trailers have always spoiled movies – if you recall, the original Friday the 13th trailer, though we look back fondly on it now, literally counted down the film’s kill scenes – but it’s a nagging problem that certainly hasn’t been curbed in recent years. And there’s simply no excuse for a trailer to EVER lay out the final act reveal of a film.
A reveal, in the case of Rings, completely robbed of suspense by the marketing department.
In the summer of last year I already knew what the word on Julia’s hand was and I was already even shown the rebirth of Samara through her – nearly every trailer and TV spot focuses on the scene where Julia pulls hair out of her mouth (the beginning of the rebirth process), which is literally THE final scene. I mean come on. This is a problem. A HUGE problem.
We’re all concerned about social media spoilers. But it’s the trailers we really need to worry about.
Get your shit together, guys.