I have to admit before I start this review that I’m not the biggest fan of the Ring franchise. I’ve seen them, I don’t hate them, but I can’t say I ever loved them. Rings didn’t change that. Unfortunately, what started as a chance to reinvigorate a franchise ended up making it look worse.
From the very outset, Rings feels more like a shoehorned idea rather than a major plot point. Whereas Samara seemed subtle before, she’s so omnipresent in this one that it feels artificial and strange.
The story of Rings is the story of Julia (Matilda Lutz), who travels across the country to find her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) after he goes missing. After running into his professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), she finds herself caught up in a large scandal and ultimately a part of the infamous curse. She sets out to understand and escape her ultimate fate.
I’m going to be honest about this. I actually like the first half of the movie. After the very beginning, that is. The very beginning was ridiculous, but as we get into the first half it seems to pick up. The real issue starts the second half of the movie. What starts out with a interesting premise ends up devolving into a gigantic mess of tropes from the past two years. Think all the horror movies and games of the past two years, smash them together, and pick about 90 seconds of each. It’s almost as if someone watched a bunch of trailers and just decided to copy them because they thought it would make the movie popular.
And it’s kind of sad because there are some nice points here. The makeup effects are pretty good, especially considering it was Arjen Tuiten, apprentice to Rick Baker and not Baker himself. Not only that but composer Matthew Margeson’s score is pretty haunting considering. And the acting itself isn’t terrible. Galecki manages to sell it, albeit difficultly, as a drunk professor and shed his “Big Bang Theory” image. And of course Vincent D’Onofrio is there as an evil person. By the way, does it occur to anyone else that since leaving “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” all he has done is play evil or really strange roles?
The only really bad acting? The 5th Wave star Roe as Holt. He apparently was in a soap opera while everyone else was in a horror movie. But that’s what you get sometimes when you hire a first time director like F. Javier Gutiérrez.
It’s just that I expected more from a writing team that include Akiva Goldsman, the writer of such films as A Beautiful Mind. He also wrote Batman & Robin, so I guess my expectations should be much lower. The real crime here is this is a character that could do really well given the right vehicle. I really enjoy the Japanese Ringu movies and am an avid lover of the recent film, Sadako vs Kayako. It just seems every time we port a character over from another country, it loses a lot of steam.
And the “scares” in this movie, what little there are, seem forced and artificial. And again, it’s really dumb because the original premise in the first half of the movie could have been fleshed out and made really cool given the right tone. It set itself up to be a “new technology” Ring movie. But doesn’t seem they delivered what they promised.
Overall, if you like The Ring and The Ring Two, you won’t hate this movie. You won’t love it, but you’ll probably sit through it. If you don’t like the series, this movie isn’t going to make you start liking. And if you have never seen the series, this film won’t make you want to watch the others. The real story here is this is two hours of your life you won’t get back, make sure you actually want to make the investment in it. And for god-sake, don’t pay movie theater prices for this. Wait till it comes out on video and rent it.
Good musical score
First half of the story is okay
A repeat of past tropes
Some really uninspired storytelling