Rings is the second sequel to Gore Verbinski’s 2002 The Ring, itself a remake of 1998’s Ringu. A horror franchise releasing a new film 12 years after the previous entry – what could go wrong?

So, is it any good?The first thing that becomes immediately apparent with Rings is that too much time has passed since the previous films. For the uninitiated, the Ring franchise is about a VHS tape that curses the watcher of it. Immediately after the phone will ring and a creepy voice will say “seven days” and that’s how long you have left to live. That is unless you can get someone else to watch it before your time expires – the curse will then transfer to them.

It’s actually a cool idea, one that the film It Follows certainly took some inspiration from. The problem with this in Rings is VHS is no longer widely used. The tape is copied to the digital format and now there are a number of cursed videos. Seeing how easy this thing could spread now, it should feel scary but comes off as lazy. 

After an incredibly stupid and pointless cold open, the film follows Julia (Matilda Lutz) who travels to find her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) after he seemingly disappears off the grid. She doesn’t call the university he is at, she doesn’t call the police, no, she goes herself. Logical.

She eventually discovers what is basically an underground cult surrounding the video that kills you in seven days, led by Gabriel, played here by a very bored looking Johnny Galecki. 

From here, Rings basically becomes a mystery movie as our characters try to discover who Samara (the girl who kills you) is, where she came from and why this is happening.

Rings is not a horror movie. It wants to be, but it isn’t scary at all. Jump scares are the only thing it has going for it and even those fail.

The video itself, which now contains “a movie within a movie” as one character says (which brought a huge laugh from me), has extra footage added to it that only Julia can see. These images look like an even lazier opening title sequence of American Horror Story.

And that’s the word to describe Rings – lazy.

The characters are barely developed to any point where you should care about them. There is no tension, no build up, and no pay-off. The big reveal of the film was in the trailers for the Rings, bringing a yawn instead of a shock at the climax.

Completely devoid of atmosphere or anything remotely scary, Rings is a movie that no one really asked for and one that no one cares about now that it is here.

In the mid-2000s the Xbox 360 was released and had a major fault – it could shut down and refuse to start back up, displaying red around its ring of light. It was commonly referred to as the “Red Ring of Death”.

Seeing this was scarier than anything in Rings. 

 

Rings is in Australian cinemas now.

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