The new trend in movies seems not to be reboots and remakes but sequels to years old films. Generally, if there’s going to be a sequel you have a 2-3 year window but we’re seeing more and more films pop up in the 8 years and more range. It worked with Scream 4 a few years back, you could see how it would, give the story some time to breathe and the world to change a bit, then adapt your story for the new time. If there’s one horror film whose environment has changed the most over the past decade it would have to be The Ring (or Ringu for your purists). You come into possession of a video and after watching you receive a phone call telling you that in 7 days you’re dead, then a week later guess what? You’re dead. Media consumption, specifically the availability of it, has changed an incredible amount since the first movies were released so it seems like a no-brainer to introduce Samara to this new world. In the original you had to pass off the tape and get someone else to watch it to avoid being killed which was done via VHS tape. A physical thing of which there was only one which had to be popped in a VCR and played. We live in a world of instantly downloadable movies and viral video…can you imagine the playground Samara would have if her video went viral? So obviously there is some new ground to cover and this sequel, Rings, is warranted. Except for one part, they didn’t really take advantage of the vastly different multimedia world we now live in The film follows Julia (Matilda Lutz) and her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) who are having a long-distance relationship which is maintained by nightly Skype calls. Unbeknownst to Julia one of Holt’s professor’s, Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), is using the college and some of its students in the most disturbing experiment this side of the Standford Prison by showing the tape in an attempt to prove the human soul, or immortality, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. When Holt doesn’t show up for the nightly Skype call Julia goes looking for him, leading her right into the experiment where she views the tape. From there its business as usual, seven days to solve the mystery or you die.
I generally don’t like to write about a film without highlighting both sides of the coin but in this case I really can’t. I suppose if you’re in the mood for a date movie that gets your girl or guy to hold on to you tight then this may be a pick for the weekend but that’s only because there are no other horror movies out. Unlike the tape in the film watching Rings isn’t going to kill you entirely, just the hour and 45 minutes you gave to watching. If there is one thing that can be done to make this film worth while it would be for other filmmakers to watch it and learn the lessons. When making a reboot, remake, or delayed sequel make sure to adapt the world you create to the one we are currently living in, take full advantage of any plot points that can be explored now that weren’t available then. Oh, and for God’s sake learn the difference between recapping the story so far and just retreading almost entirely.
1 out of 5 Guttenbergs