Spoilers follow ...
- Rings review by NP
“Life sucks when you can’t sleep.” “Yeah, tell me about it.” “Sometimes it helps to talk about it.” Story of the videotape that kills you, communicated from slick jawed ‘cute’ guy to meticulous, concerned girl. And this new chapter of ‘The Ring’ cycle begins.
1998’s Japanese original ‘The Ring’ was a fine film, and despite Naomi Watts’ attempts, so was the 2002 remake. And yet the story was always pretty thin. This needn’t matter if there is enough imagination floating around the production team to create an atmosphere of unease, characters you care about and exciting situations. Guess what? ‘Rings’ has none of these things. Of course, it brings back the old routine with some good effects – oily black water, upwards rain, the child-voice whispering ‘7 days,’ and yet these brief moments exist in isolation.
Self-assembly teens with choreographed intensity and catwalk emotion, dull as can be, pretty as paint. Can you act? Hell no, but if I smother my face in make-up and raise the occasional eyebrow, no-one will care. What about the dialogue? Shall we have any jokes, any natural discourse, any emotion? Nah, just spout some perfunctory slang, and add a bit of sexless titillation. We’re so pretty, we don’t need anything else.
It’s galling to read reviews that proclaim a certain film as the worst ever made. This isn’t the worst film ever made. But it’s the worst I’ve seen for a very long time. It’s competently put together, had a few million dollars thrown at it, and a soundtrack desperately trying to tell us something of worth is happening. And yet everything that made the original so unsettling has been reduced to diva teen drama, acting strictly confined to the school of daytime soap, the anaemic kind of thing you’ve seen many times before and will probably see many times again, as long as there is popcorn and boredom.
Even the much maligned ‘Ring 2’ (both Japanese and Hollywood versions) possessed at least an extension of the sinister spirit of Samara and her tragic evil. Here, whatever she has become is just another standard lurking presence. Her appearance stirs the dullness around it, rather than lifts it.
Usually, there is something of merit in a film. Even if there is perilously little, I still recognise that someone, somewhere, has probably lavished time and thought on the project and that is always worth consideration. I can’t imagine anyone involved in this giving two hoots, other than to justify a pay-packet.
There are rumours Ring films could become the ‘new’ annual Halloween release, like ‘Saw’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ before it. If this Scooby-Doo-without-humour bore is anything to go by, it might well be better to forget it. If only I could forget watching this. Absolutely dreadful.
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Neat re-telling, but no new direction
- Rings review by AC
For the first half of this film I thought it would be the best of the American Ring movies. I love Ringu and Ringu 2, but I thought the American Ring was a real mess, full of jump scares and weird imagery and lacking the heart of the Japanese original. This new American movie actually explores some cool themes. Is a ring of people rewatching each others copies really so bad? Isn't life a cycle anyway? If you have physical evidence of a soul contacting the living after death, shouldn't that be studied scientifically. Can you make yourself immune to Sadako's power if you take away your sight, considering that she sends her victims visions and relies on them watching tv screens? But in the end a central mystery at the half way mark os a message on the female protagonist's hand.... and if you've seen the trailer they've already told you what the mark says. That message is the final reveal of the film and any further explanation of that message was being saved for future sequels.
Rings is a solid film and it doesn't rely on dumb jump scares like previous instalments. The visions and their connection to the plot feels a bit more consistent than in the other American films. However, in the end this is mainly just a repeat of the plot of the first film. While we are promised something more, the end credits leave us hanging.
At least Sadako 3D tried to do something different. But in the end Ringu and Ringu 2 are the only films worth checking out in this series (though I'm interested in checking out Sadako Vs Kakayo).
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