THE STORY – Julia becomes worried about her boyfriend, Holt, when he explores the dark urban legend of a mysterious video said to kill the watcher seven days after viewing. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before.
THE CAST – Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden & Bonnie Morgan
THE TEAM – F. Javier Gutierrez (Director), Akiva Goldsman, David Loucka & Jacob Aaron Estes (Writers)
THE RUNNING TIME – 102 Minutes
By Matt N.
Like many other film critics, I think there is a threshold as to how much pain I can endure within the month of January every year. After “Underworld: Blood Wars,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” and “The Space Between Us” I now am forced to give yet another film my lowest grade possible. I cannot even say with any form of certainty that “Rings” does anything right. “Ringu” (1998) was made during a time when the internet was just becoming a “thing” and the American remake by Gore Verbinski, “The Ring,” (2002) was released at a time when mobile internet was not really prevalent yet. A forgettable sequel called “The Ring 2” was released in 2005 but “Rings” is now being released at a time when the internet is a major part of our everyday lives and the film has truly no idea about the horrors the real world internet imposes on us. Instead, it elects to overstuff about 90% of the film with just jump scares and somewhere within the deep, dark corners of the world, there are actual human beings who believe that this is what constitutes good horror movie filmmaking.
Julia (Matilda Lutz) and her lover Holt (Alex Roe) are about to be separated when Holt leaves for college. They are in contact with one another until one night Holt mysteriously disappears prompting Julia to travel to his campus to find him. There she meets a professor named Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), Holt’s classmate Skye (Aimee Teegarden), and together they discover a way to combat Samara (Still crawling out of tv screens all these years later) and her fatal seven-day curse. Aided by a blind groundskeeper at a cemetery (Don’t ask why), Julia goes on a dark path to confront the demonic eight year old in an effort to save her boyfriend.
The internet is a truly terrifying place where information from anywhere can be posted and accepted as fact. What we do with that information is even more horrifying. What the original “Ringu” and remake “The Ring” were able to accomplish was how our own curiosity could get the better of us at a time when clicking a file or opening up an email could possibly spell doom for our digital existence. It was a perfect metaphor that resonated strongly with a degree of sophistication and style. “Rings” chooses to focus on young characters and their teacher as the protagonists, which in itself is a huge issue, for you can immediately throw logic out of the window as far as these characters are concerned. Nobody behaves in a smart, real world matter and the use of cellphones within this film is so laughably bad you’ll be constantly yelling at the screen in disbelief at how truly idiotic this movie really is. It’s not even worth it for me to talk about this film’s plot, its characters or technical elements. Just know that every aspect of “Rings” is the lowest that the horror genre can sink to. The plot twist (Along with the entire plot itself, which rewrites everything that was set up by “The Ring 2”) is asinine and don’t even get me started on how wasted poor Vincent D’Onofrio is in this movie.
After one really good American remake and a forgettable sequel, there was nothing left to say about the infamously creepy Samara and her story, yet Akiva Goldsman (Of all people), Jacob Aaron Estes and David Loucka actually dared to try. Try they did and fail they unsurprisingly did. This is an unwanted sequel with nothing new or revelatory to say featuring terrible writing, acting (Especially from lead Matilda Lutz) and a desperate conclusion attempting to give us yet more unnecessary sequels. Which is funny when you think about it, because I honestly do not know who would want to subject themselves to another one of these movies after enduring the cinematic torture that is “Rings.”
THE FINAL SCORE
THE GOOD – Absolutely nothing. Stay away or I’ll send Samara after you!
THE BAD – Oh god…everything