Rings (2017) Review

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So. First you watch it, then you die...
Credit: IMDB

This newest installment in the Ringu franchise is a confused, and ever so slightly boring foray into the depths of Samara's Well with a weak script and mostly unknown actors that can't carry the film's lack of originality.

We start off on a plane with a man giving an in depth explanation of the doomed tape, presumably to catch the new generation of teens up on the storyline (well, The Ring 2 was released in 2005). When Samara catches up with him, the tape starts to play on all of the screens across the plane, which makes me wonder - did the plane crash? Did all of those passengers get their 7 days? I'm supposed to be concentrating here - let's get back to the review.

Moving on, we see Johnny Galecki and a gloomy looking girl acquire a VCR from a garage sale with a brief shout out to the dearly departed plane guy we just saw. As you can predict, inside the VCR is a copy of the tape - he points this out to Skye (the aforementioned gloomy girl, played by Aimee Teegarden) and here we find out he's a Professor named Gabriel.

Long story short, he watches the tape.

But wait, here's another cut to Julia (Matilda Lutz) and Holt (Alex Roe), a couple of teens in love spending their last few hours together before he goes off to college and she... stays at home for her mother? This isn't really ever expanded on.

You can see where this is headed. Holt goes off to college and tells Julia about his Modern Biology class but that the rest of his classes are uninspiring. After not hearing from him for a while, she's woken up from a sexy dream by a video call, oops it's Skye calling!

Julia travels to find Holt, and after some sleuthing, finds her way into Gabriel's lab (well, it looks like a 90s hacker den crossed with a nightclub) where we see distorted images and countdown timers against people's names (yes, Holt is one of them). Looks like Prof. Gabriel is conducting some scientific research into Samara and the afterlife (where did that funding come from?!) - don't get your hopes up though, this exciting new take on the story is short lived.

We see Skye freaking out because of the tape, and Prof. Gabriel tells her to calm her shit, make a copy and have someone else watch it.

Julia ends up back at Skye's house and manages to get in touch with Holt who tells her to NOT watch the tape. Samara comes to bump off Skye (and is a flickery mess whilst doing so) and Holt turns up to explain everything to Julia (including that he's watched the tape himself).

As is expected, Julia secretly watches the tape in order to save Holt and receives the ominous phone call on an old house phone (do people still have these?), coming away with a burn on her hand. We travel back to Prof. Gabriel who explains his research a little more and tells Julia to make her own copy. As they try to copy the file, we find out it's too big to duplicate because more video has been added (how or why, we never find out), a video within a video... videoception.

Here is where any interesting premise the film may have had, disappears and we begin the long, boring journey of watching a samey remake of the 2002 film starring Naomi Watts. We see some casual grave desecration, a bit of chatting to a weird blind guy and breaking and entering into a Church.

Along the way we see some attempts at introducing some scares (because a CGI-heavy scene involving Samara has done nothing to cause any alarm) with a Don't Breathe esque mad-man, that doesn't quite hit the spot. A few cheap jump scares here and there (umbrellas, eels - you catch my drift) do nothing but annoy when their source material (The original Ringu (1998)) is so frightening.

It soon becomes apparent that Samara will be saving our main character from harm so that she can give Samara her freedom. Do we just gloss over the fact that Samara has killed many, many people prior to this? Surely we're not feeling sorry for this sodding wet villain... right?

Oh, I spoke too soon, after a brief shower scene involving a hair ball, Holt finds out the burn on Julia's hand is actually braille and turns to the internet to decipher what it means. We see Samara's true plan and right on cue, the tape is sent via email to hundreds of people and a few comments back about 'uploading' the video right away. Finally, a 2 second reference to the age of technology that we live in. Really, in a world with a powerhouse like Youtube, we'd all have seen that tape before the movie even began.

I just hope we don't have another of these to sit through in the future (but we probably will get one anyway).

Credit: IMDB