Almost 20 years ago I saw a Japanese horrormovie called Ringu, more commonly known as The Ring. Up until a certain scene, it was a good horrormovie, with some genuinely frightening moments. But then near the end of the film it suddenly happened: a scene that was so incredibly horrifying, that it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. With an open mouth I kept staring at the television screen, not really comprehending what was happening to me. I actually froze, and was completely terrified at the scene that kept unfolding before me. What up to that point had been a very good and scary film, changed into something that to date gave me the biggest scare that I have ever had in my life while watching a movie. The film went on to become a huge succes, and ofcourse the inevitable American remake also appeared. Starring Naomi Watts, it actually was not a bad movie, but it just lacked the atmosphere of the original Japanese version. A sequel to the American remake was released in 2005, and now 12 years later we have Rings, a movie that was supposed to reboot the saga.
In Rings we meet up with college professor Gabriel, who buys an old VCR. Upon coming home he discovers that there is still a videotape inside it. It turns out to be the cursed tape that has killed so many people in the past. When you watch it, you just have seven more days left to live until you die, unless you make a copy of the tape and have someone else watch it. At college a new student named Holt starts classes, leaving behind his girlfriend Julia who lives off campus. They keep in touch with Skype, but then Holt all of a sudden does not contact her as often anymore, until he stops doing so completely. Julia decides to find out what is going on, and heads to Holt’s college. Soon she discovers that Gabriel has started a bizarre experiment involving the videotape, and Holt is a part of that experiment. In order to save her boyfriend, Julia ends up watching the tape, which results in her having seven days left before she is scheduled to die. Determined to put an end to everything once and for all, she desperately tries to find a way to end the curse. But that is easier said than done, and time is running out….
The question I asked myself when I first heard about this movie is if there was really anyone waiting for this one. It’s been twelve years after the release of the last American version of the Ring, and that movie was not very well received at the time. So why even make this? I don’t really expect an answer, but I ended up watching it anyway. Sadly though, what could have been a reboot for this if it had been done well, ended up being a waste of a movie. Where the original two movies at least had plenty of scares, we now have a film that tries to copy that, but fails completely. Not once in this movie did I feel a sense of being frightened. There were one or two interesting scenes, but ultimately this was a pretty boring movie.
Another thing that did not work in this film were it’s characters. They were just very dull, and I honestly could not care less what happened to them. The cast consisted of relatively unknowns, with the exception of Vincent D’Onofrio and Johny Galecki. Though the acting in the movie wasn’t bad, the script itself just did not provide a good enough story to leave a lasting impression for any of the actors involved. So, what remains is a film that has very little in common with the original movie, and should have stayed buried in a well. Honestly there is almost nothing to recommend about this movie. If you really want to have a good scare, go and see the original 1998 Ringu. I promise you that movie is still every bit as powerful after all these years.
I give Rings a 3 out of 10 score.