Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Running Time: 102 Minutes
“I don’t have no fear of death. My only fear is coming back reincarnated.”
– Tupac Shakur
A young woman tries desperately to save her boyfriend after he is lured into a pseudo-scientific research experiment and watches the infamous “ring” video. With only 7 days to live and figure out how to lift the death sentence, and with the help of an arguably immoral professor, Julia and Holt set out to uncover the rest of Samara’s story.
Performances & Special Effects
Matilda Lutz (Julia) and Alex Roe (Holt) gave some of the dullest performances that I have seen outside of an Asylum film. There was no chemistry between the characters and the acting was utterly flat. I can’t decide if this was the result of bad acting or bad direction but I’m inclined to suggest that both were involved. Surprisingly, Johnny Galecki (Gabriel) gave a pretty decent performance, but I found that his character was not used as effectively as it could have been.
Bonnie Morgan reprises her role as Samara, and the contortionist does not disappoint. I especially enjoyed the changes to Samara’s detail. The filmmakers maintained her washed, monochromatic eerie look, together with her “teleporting” ability once she’s crawled her way out of your TV. In addition to these Samara staples, her skin was given a television static effect, rather than just being grey and wet. This minor detail was much appreciated. Generally, the SFX were well done, and as this was a PG-13 film, there was no need for oodles of blood, severed head or the like.
As an aside, the movie had a decidedly ’90s feel to it, and not in a good way. The clothing, music and lighting made for some heavy teen flashbacks for me. Further, the set dressing was surprisingly shoddy at times. There is a scene where Julia finds a room where days have been etched into the wall. These are supposed to be made up of four vertical lines with one diagonal line crossed through them to represent 5 days. The lines were so hastily and badly done that it actually distracted me from the rest of the scene.
I hadn’t watched the trailer prior to viewing the film. I’m so immensely happy about this because if I had I would have been even more disappointed than I already am. I would estimate that half of the scenes in the trailer do not actually appear in the film (one such image is pictured below), and the 7 day countdown used in the trailer does not follow what actually happens in the film.
I didn’t have extremely high hopes for the film but I was hoping that it would at least be fun to watch. This was not the case. The film had a solid, very promising start but really bizarre, choppy, jarring editing for the first half. It also has a strong ending. The whole middle bit was tit useless. I nearly fell asleep while watching these two young adults naively stumble along through the plodding plot. The plot was entirely predictable, without meaning to be, but not even fun to watch. Something like Oculus is pretty upfront as to where the story is going but the journey was thrilling to watch nonetheless. This was not the case with Rings.
While the bumbling protagonists were on screen, I found myself wondering what Gabriel was doing, how his research had developed, and wishing that the movie’s plot had focused on the professor and his experiment, rather than these dopey idiots. Rings was an amalgamation of Inception (video in a video), Final Destination (airplane scene and staving off one’s death) with the flakiness, acting ability, and character acumen of Ouija while shoehorning the immortality of the soul into the plot. I think that young teens would likely enjoy this but the bubblegum nature of the relationships and the predictability would make this film boring for anyone classified as a “young adult” and older.
My rating: 2/5
Rings releases at cinemas on 3 February 2017
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