HOLLYWOOD—I will be the first to admit that whenever I hear that a movie has been delayed that is never a good sign. It’s a term in Hollywood known as development hell. “Rings” which was slated to be released back in 2016, but had its released date pushed back on more than one occasion; finally saw the light of day this February.
To my surprise the film was quite entertaining to say the least; however it’s not a perfect flick. This flick sees the return of that infamous VHS tape (which most people seeing this flick may not have any idea what a VHS tape is) and the ghoulish girl in it, Samara.
Like previous installments, the movie opens with an epic airplane sequence that has valued importance to the rest of the movie people. We see an unsuspecting believer who discovers watching that tape does indeed have dire consequences; one’s that he and the rest of the passengers on the plane never expected. That thrilling moment is perhaps one of the most intense in the entire movie if you ask me.
That moment transitions our narrative to the primary players in the flick, which include Professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) who is slightly obsessed with the tape, and utilizes his students to help prove his theory that life does exist after death. Those students include Skye (Aimee Teegarden) and Holt (Alex Roe). Skye’s relationship with the professor should raise a question or two for the spectator.
Holt plays a big role in the narrative because his first-year in college turns out to be an eventful one when he gets caught up in the tape mystery and his girlfriend Julia (Matilda Lutz) makes a surprise visit to campus to find out what is really going on. Per usual, curiosity gets the best of these characters, who just can’t seem to stay away from sealing their fate by leaving the unknown ALONE! If I knew a tap that I watched could lead to my death, would I put myself in a situation to watch the type: not a chance!
The one thing that I found fascinating was the narrative. I was completely glued to the movie wanting to know how things would unfold, specifically, Julia who unlocks another video within the video that divulges more details about Samara and her infamous upbringing. The scares in this flick are minimal to say the least; the level of suspense delivered in the 2002 remake starring Watts was epic compared to this one. The one terrifying sequence starring Teegarden’s character Skye is fun, but not edge of your seat shocking.
For those who venture into the theater with no knowledge of the franchise, you will have difficulty following the plot. Could you get pass seeing this movie without seeing the 2002 predecessor yes, but seeing the 2005 sequel is a must to understand “Rings,” because of character references. Specifically, the whereabouts of Samara, her mother and what transpired before are fuzzy for a viewer who hasn’t seen the previous installment.
The movie has a somewhat expected twist at the end that one can decipher if they pay attention to the clues throughout the movie. While the sequel is not better than the original, it does a solid job at bringing a bit of life into a franchise that many expected dead in the water. The one caveat is that the scares and thrills are not as strong as one would hope for a franchise that totally scared audiences senseless in 2002 and delivered a twist that was quite unexpected to say the least. “Rings” is fun, but don’t expect to have sleepless nights!