Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Rings (2017)

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The real horror is watching it

Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D'Onofrio

One gets the feeling director F. Javier Gutiérrez couldn't decide what opening to use, so just chose to insert them both. Things begin with an overblown and tenuously connected set piece, merely there to showcase the effects of Samara on an airplane. After that, a more interesting opening occurs, with Johnny Galecki's professor discovering one of the cursed video tapes.

Julia (Matilda Lutz) becomes worried about her boyfriend, Holt (Alex Roe). Upon journeying to his college, she discovers he's watched a mysterious video, said to kill all who watch it seven days after the viewing. Julia watches the tape, to save her boyfriend, only to discover there's a tape within a tape.

Considering how technology has moved on, the idea of taking the cursed video tapes into the 21st century is somewhat intriguing. Unfortunately, the most this modern setting achieves is allowing the cursed tape to be a video file. With the age of the Internet, one would think there'd be sites dedicated to such a horrific curse, spreading knowledge and help to the unfortunate victims.

Image result for rings 2017 youtubeAnything potentially of interest is outright squandered, instead choosing to expand the franchise mythology in the most needless and convoluted of ways. The best example of this is the brand new cursed video. The original, lifted from Gore Verbinski's dread-laden 2002 film, delivers chilling imagery that isn't easily forgotten. Nothing of the sort is evident for the new video, instead delivering the most basic of images which are mistakenly believed to be creepy.

Instead, we're stuck following a drippy and bland couple. There's nothing in the performances of Matilda Lutz or Alex Roe which makes us want to care for these two, and the perfunctory writing does little to help this. A more interesting character to follow would have been Galecki's Professor Gabriel Brown, who devotes a club to the curse of Samara.

Ultimately, the final product feels like an amalgamation of multiple butchered scripts. Take one part of a somewhat intriguing idea, another part that's a poor retelling of The Ring, and one massive part that feels like a rip-off from Fede Alvarez's Don't Breathe, while leaving out anything remotely frightening. Then you have the unfortunate final product, which is sadly released for all to witness.

After 12 years, Samara has returned to frighten audiences, but she really shouldn't have bothered. Rings is a boring hack-job, that's equal parts poor writing, dull characters, and ripping off better films. The real curse lies in viewing this film with your own eyes.

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