Rings Film Disappoints Fans

Payton Reid, Editorial Board

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Japanese-horror hit the Northwest in early 2002 when Gore Verbinski’s film The Ring was released. With a sudden burst in sales, the film grossed over 249.3 million U.S dollars worldwide (boxofficemojo.com) and doused the sub genre of psychological horror with a wave of new fans after the Japanese pop culture inspired film set a foundation for all movies to come. J-Horror is distinctly different from western horror as it focuses heavily on the psychological aspects of fear, playing into folktales, religion, and traditional ghost stories. The Ring franchise attempted to grow when The Ring Two was released in 2005, grossing over 161.5 million USD less than the previous film. This would not be the last disappointment for The Ring fans.

Fans of The Ring and horror movie fanatics are in for a major let down when watching the third instalment of the series, titled Rings. Released on February 3rd, 2017, Rings grossed only 30.2 million USD worldwide. With not much to expect after the trailer was not received positively by fans, the disappointment in the theatre was bearable and almost expected. Films inspired by Japanese horror typically use a minimalistic approach to slowly build a sense of dread before any type of shocking image gives a jump scare, all while avoiding gore but not shying away from the giving the audience the unexpected. Rings does none of these.

The original story of an unexpecting victim finding a cursed videotape that eventually leads to their death is seen through a modern day filter, and relies heavily on technology. Having the characters spend a majority of their time in front of a computer watching said video makes for a very uneventful film, but it was by no means boring.

A scene halfway through the film shows the two main characters in stereotypically suspicious small town trying to solve the mystery of why the tapes are haunted in the first place in hopes to put the angry spirit to rest. Visuals lacking anything near terrifying would have put the audience to sleep if it wasn’t for the completely predictable dialogue that gave those watching a better laugh than any comedy released in the past year.

Rings has not received positive reactions online either, and has been given a 5% rating on RottenTomatoes.com over the few short weeks it has been in theatres, which is depressingly low in comparison to the original film that has kept a 72% rating. The Ring featured skilled actors that portrayed believable terror with minimal overacting, while Rings suffered from their inexperienced cast, as it was the first major film for the lead actress, Mathilda Anna Ingrid Lutz. Many films benefit from having up and coming actors to add another layer of shock value, yet the lack of raw talent in the small cast of Rings was very apparent.

The cinematography in Rings is the only thing able to keep this film from being a complete disappointment. During the opening scene, the two main characters lay in bed with the sun filtering through the curtains, and it is quite visually appealing. Later on when the tone shifts from a happy couple enjoying each others company to a race against a ghost girl and her cursed videotapes, the rain and ominous clouds are an unfortunate cliche that still has a somewhat captivating affect.

Aside from the carefully chosen lighting and unintentionally hilarious dialogue, Rings is a film not worth seeing unless having a good laugh is the goal. Walking into this film with the idea that it is supposed to be a horror that leaves the audience shocked and afraid is not ideal. Accepting the overload of stereotypes mixed heavily with lack of original thought and simply enjoying Rings for what it is can allow for some enjoyment and good laughs.

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