A Quick Look: Rings (.5/5)

So I just got home from seeing Rings, and as expected, it was not only a pile of garbage, but it was an extremely pathetic pile of garbage.

Why such a belated sequel to The Ring? Well, for the same reason The Gallows was made: to capitalize off of those who were too young to see an earlier film in its genre. The Gallows was meant to capitalize off those who were too young to see Paranormal Inactivity, and Rings, of course, was meant to capitalize off of those who were too young to see The Ring. And later this year, Saw 8: We’re Too Dumb to Think of an Actual Title So We’ll Call It Legacy is coming out to capitalize off those who were too young to see the original Saw. But even regardless of that, it’s a horror movie. Gullible college students or those of college age will of course flock to the theater on a Saturday night to see a “scary” movie. They’ll scream at the jumpscares and text all their friends to tell them what a scary movie it was and that they should see it. Rinse and repeat. The typical college kid has no idea what makes a good horror movie, or a good movie in general. Because college kids are amazingly dumb. Trust me – I am one. I pay full price to go see movies I hate. Im totes smrt, like 4 reals.

I’m not surprised that this movie was delayed as many times as it was. The producers must have known it was garbage, so they decided to release it in the dead of February rather than around Halloween.

I think what made the producers the most uncomfortable was the leading lady’s atrocious acting. Her line delivery was so laughably off. Her inflections and emphases were so unnaturally placed, and though she did her best to hide it, her ungodly thick accent showed at the most inopportune moments. For nearly the entire first act, her awkward line delivery gave me the giggles. Seriously, this bitch’s acting (yes, I felt it was necessary) easily rivals Brittany Allen in Backgammon. I was not surprised, because when I did some pre-movie research, I learned that Matilda Lutz is not only Italian, but she didn’t even bother to learn English before she took on the role. She learned her lines phonetically. That explains everything. She literally had no idea how to act out her lines, because she had no idea what they meant. The rest of the acting wasn’t cringey, but it was still really bad.

Though I don’t regard Hideo Nakata’s Ringu and Gore Verbinski’s remake to be classic, visionary staples of the horror genre, I still very much like them, and would give both a 3.5 or a 4 out of 5. Why do I differentiate between Ringu and The Ring? Because these two films are drastically tonally different. But Rings seems to have this heady, haughty, high-minded attitude when it comes to the original movies. It seems to be saying to them, “Move over, you geriatric f*cks! It’s time for the new generation to step forward!” Seriously, Rings is even less faithful to The Ring than The Ring Two.

Much less faithful. Especially when it comes to tone. While everyone knows The Ring started out with a slow, quiet prologue that explained the mechanics of the cursed tape and built up to a really scary end (it was a particularly effective short film in and of itself), this movie starts with the plane crash scene shown in the trailer. Yeah, Samara coming out of the plane’s cockpit computer is not at the climax; it’s the scene the film opens on. And this scene is terrible. The scene centers on three characters who have literally been created for the purpose of dying. It’s horribly shot, and once crap starts going down, the scene then shows off its stock action movie soundtrack. Yes, really. Samara climbing out of the cockpit computer is made of laughable CGI. Because that’s what a sequel to The Ring needed. And best of all, this opening scene is never mentioned again. It is completely independent of the rest of the film, has absolutely no reason to be there. It’s a facepalm-worthy scene that should have been cut.

Another way Rings shoves The Ring to the side is through its pacing. I kid you not, though the movie is nearly two hours long, the movie feels like eighty minutes. It is such an impatient, spastic movie. Part of what made The Ring scary was the slow pace. It was an almost Hitchcockian slow-burn thriller. The Ring was creepy and ominous and surreal and atmospheric rather than in-your-face and fast-paced. It took its time setting its story elements up. It took its time in introducing the characters. It took its time in establishing its dark and gloomy mood and tone. It was a film where a very gray color scheme actually worked. It took its time in building tension. But Rings casts that all aside for a story that’s very dull despite being fast-paced. It was so fast-paced that just before we got to the final scene, I was under the impression that the climax hadn’t even happened yet. I was convinced that this was just like the death of Brian Cox in The Ring, and the third act was just about to start. But no. The final scene occurs, and all I could think was, Wait, what? Oh, so we’re just wrapping up now? Okay. So one scene features the character Gabriel watching the cursed tape. He gets the Seven Days call from Samara, thinks nothing of it, and immediately starts tripping out. A fly crawls out of his reefer and flies over to the window and lands on it. Gabriel tries to smash it with his hand, but the fly phases through the window to the outside. And then the rain starts dripping upward. I then let out a loud fart. Either that, or it was me desperately trying to hold in my laughter. And Gabriel thinks nothing of this. I thought him watching the tape was going to lead up to something resembling Noah’s death from The Ring, but it didn’t. Huh. This is the exact opposite of The Ring‘s building of tension. The movie contained a countup timer from Day 1 to Day 7. Speaking of which, no such counter exists in Rings. By the end of the movie, you can’t tell if it’s been seven days, four days, one day, or twelve days. But as I was saying, barely any creepy stuff happens on the first day, and as each day passes, the supernatural occurrences get worse, building up the tension to almost palpable levels. At least, in The Ring. In Rings, we get days in which a ton of spoopy shart happens, but the next day, barely anything happens.

I love how ungodly silly the plot is (if you could call it that). The leading lady isn’t getting any calls from her boyfriend, so she drives all the way up to the college he’s at to find him. She goes to the dorm where he lives and goes through his possessions. She goes to the class where he’s supposed to be and he’s not there. Then she follows his professor up to the seventh floor (seven floors! seven days!), where she encounters this secret club of all the people on this college campus who have watched the cursed tape. Apparently they’re all part of an experiment by the professor to prove that souls are real.  These students all have countdown timers counting down from seven days. Instead of just making a damn copy and passing it on to someone else, the students all trust the professor to work out someone who can watch the video. And though these students and professor could clearly make sure there’s someone able to watch the video by the next day at the latest, the students have to wait until their final day, when the student they will pass the curse on to will show up and watch the video in the student’s last half hour before Samara gets them. Yeah. And after this other chick that the lead’s boyfriend knows drags her to her place and fails to get her to watch the video in time and gets hilariously killed by Samara (the lead is present for this, by the way. She’s just locked herself in the next room), this random jackass shows up at the chick’s apartment saying that he’s there to watch a video. And then her boyfriend shows up, and gives her the most laughable excuse: he didn’t answer her phone calls or Skype calls because he wanted to keep her safe from somehow watching the video. And then, with twelve hours left before Samara’s supposed to get him, the boyfriend goes to sleep. And then the lead watches the video, despite having just seen someone die because of the video. And then when she tries to copy her copy of the video, she can’t, because it’s a larger file than the one she got. Why? Because there’s an entire other roll of footage somehow hidden within the original footage that just now decided to show itself to her and only her because she’s special or something. There’s a movie within the movie. Wait, wh – I…can’t even. I – WHAT? The sheer amount of nonsensicalities, self-contradictions, and stupid decisions speak for themselves, especially how she can watch the damn video on her phone later in the movie. Wow. I mean…sheesh. And then in the second half of the movie, almost all that plot is thrown aside in the name of the lead and the boyfriend discovering Samara’s backstory. Barely anything happens save for some screwing around until the climax. Samara’s scanty backstory is revealed, but the sense of mystery, tension, and impending doom is nowhere to be found, and even the overall mystery is over pretty quick. Padre Vincent D’Onofrio kidnapped a young woman, kept her prisoner under a church, and raped her. This is how Samara was conceived. Oh, and Padre D’Onofrio stole Samara’s corpse and is hiding it in his home. There. That’s it. That’s seriously all there is.

I also love just how much was given away in the trailers. See, when the lead gets her Seven Days call, she burns her hand on the phone somehow. She then somehow gets a pattern of dots on her hand. But the trailers give it away, saying that the mark means “rebirth”, even though the actual movie treats it as a big twist at the end. What? Oh yeah, and the end of the movie sees the lead possessed by Samara. Yeah, the shower sequences involving the peeling of skin and the long cord of hair coming out of the lead’s mouth happen at the end. Also, the trailers give out a lot of false information. I mean, seriously, a lot of what they show isn’t even in the actual movie. The lead seeing the video because it was sent to her in an email? Not in the movie! The lead wiping away a drop of water coming out of her webcam? Not in the movie! The lead having a circular scar on her back? Not in the movie! Vincent D’Onofrio (what was he thinking when he signed on to this movie?) saying that the mark on her hand is Braille for “rebirth”? Not in the movie! Samara grabbing the lead from behind in the mirror? Not in the movie! The lead waking up with her hands fused together? Not in the movie! The lead raising her arms in a church and having all the books float upward? Not in the movie! The lead’s mother cracking her head to the side? Not in the movie! The boyfriend trying to bash down a door but getting levitated backwards? Not in the movie! That poem about Samara? Not in the movie! The lead telling Vincent D’Onofrio about her video-watching experience? Not in the movie! Vincent D’Onofrio telling the lead that the mark on her hand is the mark of the Devil? Not in the movie!  Seriously, these are some of the most dishonest trailers ever!

By the way, the new footage for the cursed videotape was ungodly silly and stupid compared to either of the cursed tapes in either Ringu or The Ring! Those tapes were creepy! Rings‘s is just pathetic!

This movie was made for twenty-five million bucks. Where did all that money go? The movie as a whole looks like it was an amalgamation of the worst aspecs of made-for-TV and direct-to-video! The CGI in this movie is terrible, and it is obvious. CGI Samara, CGI bugs, CGI blood.

And, of course, Rings has to completely misinterpret what made The Ring scary by adding a ton of jumpscares. You see every one of them coming. Even when they’re loud noises heralding in the next cut, they are ungodly predictable. At least they’re not infuriatingly loud. The lead opens a door – a ghost woman jumps into frame! – the lead jumps back; the camera cuts back to where the ghost woman was, revealing nothing there. The lead looks on the floor – urrmurrgurrd a snek! – she jumps back; the camera cuts back to where the snek was revealing that it was just a cable.

The ending is hilarious. I don’t care that I’m spoiling it. Samara’s cursed video being digitized leads exactly where you think it’s going to go: the video gets uploaded to the Internet and goes viral! Oh no! APOCALYPSE!

There was this one scene in the movie that I really need to mention. The lead and her boyfriend are driving somewhere (I forget), and a bird flies into the windshield, cracking it. The lead makes the boyfriend stop, insisting she saw a bird. The boyfriend insists that there was no bird, and even points out that the windshield is not cracked. The lead gets out of the car and sees the bird on the ground. She points this out to the boyfriend, but then almost gets hit by a truck. I laughed my ass off in the theater. Several other theatergoers did so as well.

If you want to watch this movie as an unintentional comedy, then I beg you to do so. There is a lot to laugh at. You will laugh. You will cry. But you will mostly laugh at just how incompetent this movie is, and I’m giving this movie a .5 out of 5.

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