There is nothing more American than the bastardization of great art, in the name of solubility for audiences too lazy to read subtitles. The Ring franchise is a prime example of unnecessary rebranding of an existing horror masterpiece, just to make it more palatable for the english speaking crowd. Rings is the culmination of a franchise that has way overstayed it’s welcome.
The latest entry follows Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz), a recent high school grad whose boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) goes off to college while she is left to tend to vaguely alluded to family circumstances. The two attempt to carry on their listless relationship, because they are pretty, and pretty people in movies need to stick together. Holt becomes more and more distant, until one night a frantic girl randomly skypes Julia, demanding to know where Holt is. This sends Julia on her journey to find her vanished lover.
We soon learn than Holt and group of students that can only be described as a millennial cult, have been following their science professor in some absurd and obtuse experiment in which they all take turns watching this mysterious video that leads to the call of death in 7 days, all to somehow prove the existence of an afterlife. The race against the clock begins when Julia watches the video to save Holt, and now must find the hidden meaning that will lead to the nefarious origins of the evil stringy haired girl in the well.
This movie delivers on the promise of the first five minutes. Which is, this is the most blatant and overt display of plagiarism you will ever see. This entire film is filled with lifted scenes directly from other pictures. Literally nothing original happens the entire time and it’s disturbingly inept. Rings is a vapid horror film, which drags at a borderline narcoleptic pace. The opening is stolen directly from Final Destination, and becomes a direct lead in to the scariest part, which is Johnny Galecki’s battle hardened mug, looking like he went 12 rounds with a bottle of tequila. There is just so much disconnect from scene to scene that every action becomes inconsequential. The film has massive continuity concerns that lace the plot with gaping holes and make the story indistinguishable from the number of other movies it’s clearly ripping off.
Roe and Lutz turn in quite possibly two of the worst performances in genre history. It’s amazing how, in the face of great and constant peril, these two manage to remain stoic and without even a hint of emotion. Not to mention that aside from looking pretty standing next to each other, there is absolutely no discernible chemistry between them. The only silver
lining is that they are both equally awful, so neither makes the other one look worse than they already are. The aforementioned Galecki and the puffy Vincent D’onofrio are the definition of stunt casting gone wrong. Neither is able to present an honest moment amongst the contrition that coat this film.
The disconcertion regarding the performances can’t solely bare the blame on this one. These actors were given less than nothing to work with. Director F. Javier Gutierrez destroys any hint of atmospheric dread with a story that moves at a snail’s pace, yet still relies on jump scares to bring the heat. Spending all too much time trying to tap into the ominous subculture behind the video, and the odious origins of the wicked Samara, Rings is a lethargic and convoluted bummer of a horror flick that repeatedly backs itself into a corner and steals its way out by knocking off whole scenes from other modern genre films. This is completely devoid of logic and refuses to present a coherent thought. The tone is in shambles, and the lack of reasonable development is insulting. This is just a shallow movie, filled with vacant performances, too many plot devices, a blatant disregard for consistency, and one insanely hammy D’onofrio. To top it all off, they had the nerve tease a sequel with the ending. Because studios love to spend two hours insulting audiences with lazy material and then expect them to revisit their plodding dreary mess in the next installment. For the love of god someone throw this franchise into the well with the little evil girl, and never look back.
1/5 Not Cool Bro