So, this is a sequel I don’t think anyone really asked for, but here we are, all the same, yet again watching somebody watching something that kills them after seven days. Yes, The Ring is back, the third iteration (of the American version, that is) so ring-y it’s called Rings, plural.
I liked the originals, both the Japanese and the American versions. The first in each instance were on par with each other, though the American sequel was, in a rare case, better. Somewhat confusingly, it was directed by Hideo Nakata, who made the first Japanese movie, but not its sequel, nor the first American entry. Go figure.
More Japanese sequels/prequels were made, none of them particularly good, so let’s just circle back (wa-hey!) to the third American movie.
I’ll be honest, this is objectively not a good film or even a decent sequel. Subjectively, though, I like it. I probably shouldn’t, as, say what you want about its predecessors: at least they were very well made A-movies. Rings is decidedly a B-movie, unapologetically so. (I think — I haven’t actually talked to director F. Javier Gutiérrez.)
Yet again, we’re back to people watching that damn V.H.S. tape which kills you after seven days. Of course, we’re now in 2018, and after a character for some unknown reason decides to fix a V.C.R., the film gets ripped to a digital format for everybody’s viewing pleasure.
There’s a whole hoopla about having to cremate Samara — the girl in the Killer Movie™ — to stop the cycle, and there are some clever little touches about a new movie within the movie, but in the end, the plot doesn’t matter a whole lot. Rings is more about being scary — which it sort of is in a jump-scare kind of way — than trying to say anything.
This all sounds negative, I know, and it is is negative in the sense that I wouldn’t pay $10 in the theater to watch Rings. Now that it’s streaming on every platform under the sun, there are reasons to check it out.
First, the film is well shot, and it retains the stylish, cool Seattle-y color palette of the first movie. (Although nobody in their right mind would believe this was filmed in Seattle.) Some of the imagery in the new Killer Movie™ is quite striking, and how it translates into what the protagonist sees in the real world is pretty clever.
The actors, while not in the recognizability class of the previous movies, universally do a good job. Yes, the plot and dialogue are overly dramatic, but the cast does what it can with them.
And for having a story that mainly is a vehicle to show Gutiérrez’s flair for the visual, the ending is pretty clever. Not in a forced way, either — it fits well into the Ring-verse.
Rings is not a great movie as such, but it’s one worth watching if you liked the two previous entries. And even if you haven’t watched any of them, it does work as a standalone movie for when you don’t feel like watching anything heavy.