No, this isn’t about Tom Brady’s hand.
These days any horror franchise that’s ever been done has the potential to be brought back to the screen as a sequel…or prequel…or err, a reboot. So it has come to pass that obviously one of the creepier horror movies from the early 2000’s would return…this time as a sequel reboot. The sequel reboot is sort of all the rage these days. Basically you create a movie in the same universe as the original but find ways to ret con the established back story. That’s basically what Rings is. It is technically the third in the American Ring horror franchise but it fronts itself like it is the second by acting like Rings 2 never existed. I’m ok with that since I never saw Rings 2 although I loved the first one. This was a sequel I was looking forward to even though I dreaded that it could be awful. I mean, how many times can you literally go to the “well’ (pun intended) with these movies?
Rings is a weird amalgam of horror/mystery/sci-fi. We all know the basic plot which is basically there’s this VHS video that if you watch it, you’re going to get a phone call saying you’ll die in seven days. Then you do die by way of creepy well girl who crawls out of your television. Interestingly enough, the film starts off with more of a scientific premise that I wished they had explored more when a university professor, Gabriel, finds the cursed VHS video and makes copies of it for experimentation. He figured out that you can avoid the curse by making a copy of the video and then getting someone else to watch it. The curse is then transferred to that new viewer whose job is now to try to repeat the cycle. This is not a spoiler as this was established in early Ring movies. The new part is this professor is monitoring data from this in terms of trying to explore the undead conscious. This is fascinating. Then the trajectory of the movie veers off course and it turns into a creepy mystery when the girlfriend, Julia, of one professor’s tails, Holt watches the video to save him from the curse. Instead of taking the obvious action by pawning the curse off on some other unfortunate schmuck, she takes it upon herself to save the cursed soul of Samara, the undead being from the video. This leads her down a creepy rabbit hole, so to speak, where she goes to Samara’s mother’s hometown to solve what happened and free their cursed souls. Granted, Samara evolves upon Julia’s viewing of the video and shows her new stuff but there is still nothing to show us that Julia just can’t repeat the cycle of copying it instead of exploring. However Julia is a noble soul I guess.
The acting is what you’d expect from a horror movie like this…its ok. Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz is a Jessica Alba clone (not a complaint) who plays the protagonist Julia sufficiently. Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory is a fun character as Professor Gabriel although he does some dumb stuff. Even Vincent D’Onofrio shows up in this one in a role that leaves a lot of plot hole questions. One thing I do want to mention about him is that he acted a little too much like Kingpin from the Netflix show Daredevil, which took me out of the realm of believability. Otherwise the movie is fine cinematography wise. There are some cool creepy shots in this one which is what everyone wants to see. Disappointingly it gets too boring during the second act and I found myself questioning a lot of the characters actions. Not enough horror in this one for a movie that carries the burden of being a sequel to the really creepy original Ring.