Image Credit: Paramount Pictures
I guess I wouldn’t know what to do if I ever watched a videotape and then my phone rang saying “seven days.” And then after seven days a soul entity in the form of a little girl came to reap my life. That’s the plot to the “The Ring” and it’s one of the few scary movies that has consistently terrified me. Not because it was gory or over the top, but because it was a premise that instilled what the term “nightmare” really meant.
“Rings” is the third entry in the dormant franchise, and I can’t tell if the movie is trying to be a reboot, remake, or sequel. Either way, yes, the cursed video tape with the little girl that climbs out of your television is the main selling point, only in this decade, instead of VCR cassette tapes, Samara has found her way onto the bowels of the internet, with folks forwarding around the video like an office Christmas party invitation. The film opens with an improbable sequence on an airplane where everyone talks about this “video that kills you after you watch it” because, in a perfect world, people know what this is. Turns out, one dude didn’t catch the memo that if you don’t show your copy of the tape to someone else, bad things happen. Which they do.
This opening merely serves as a useless set-up to inform youngsters of the story mechanics, because, like me, they were too young to see the first two movies in the series. Somehow, Johnny Galecki had some time off from “The Big Bang Theory” and is playing Gabriel, a biology professor at a local school where our protagonist, Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz), heads in order to find her boyfriend, Holt (Alex Roe), who has been off the grid for the better half of a week. Of course, Julia’s findings lead her to an underground syndicate, and this is where the movie’s best idea comes through, headed by Gabriel where he has conspired enough crazy kids to believe watching this cursed tape over and over will somehow be a breakthrough for science.
I say it’s a good idea because it’s different. The whole premise of an underground bar where people who have watched the tape gather in one area is fascinating, because the thought is new. Something that director F. Javier Gutierrez and his team of writers thought to inject into the story, As well as, some new images on the tape that propel the main story further for Julia. While Lutz is no Naomi Watts, she has the investigative tactics in place, and you can’t help but wonder why this character was chosen for the gig in the first place. Her findings lead her on a quest to an old abandoned town with a population of approximately 257 people, a blind man (Vincent D’ Ofornio) with some secrets of his own, and a harrowing backstory that basically tells you forget everything from the first movie.
But if anyone in the audience has seen “The Ring” (you can almost forget about “The Ring Two”) they can all but predict the ending or at least have a rough idea. “Rings” does have a few good moments, mainly because the digital effects era has certainly helped with visual aesthetics. After all, seeing that little ghost girl climb her way into your living room is a sight that I will never forget. And that event is what remains the threshold for the series. But the films initial plot is very convoluted and basically asks you to forget about the devices from the previous entries. Kind of like wiping the slate clean and starting over, which makes “Rings” very uneven.
There has to be credit for attempting I suppose, and “Rings” does try to spook you, I’ll admit that I did jump a few times, and the “twist” towards the end involving a central character was out of left field. Yet, that is prime example of the many ideas that were presented, but then never develop like they should. The good news is this should only take you seven days to forget about altogether, maybe even sooner. C