Recent years have given us plenty of sequels and reboots that have made people wonder, “did we really need this”? Enter “Rings”, Paramount’s attempt at reviving one of the early 2000’s most iconic horror franchises to create an annual successor to the now complete “Paranormal Activity” saga. Although “Rings” breaths some new life into the series’ story, there’s little here to get excited about as it’s merely a generic popcorn horror flick that treads little new grounds even while adding to the mythos of “The Ring” and its central villain, Samara.
“Rings” takes place thirteen years after the events of the second film and follows a new group of victims of Samara’s rage with no returning characters, other than Samara herself, from previous films. When Holt Anthony, played by Alex Roe (“The 5th Wave”), goes off to college his girlfriend Julie, newcomer Matilda Lutz, has difficulty contacting him and makes her way to his school where she discovers he has become part of a secret experiment by professor Gabriel Brown, “The Big Bang Theory’s” Johnny Galecki, involving the legendary cursed video tape from the previous films. After a series of events Holt and Lutz find themselves in a race against time to free Samara once and for all from her cursed existence or face the fate of so many before them for watching the tape.
To its credit, “Rings” does a lot to stand apart from its predecessors. While the first “Ring” film was intriguingly cryptic and the follow up was a lackluster mess of confusing plot points, “Rings” falls somewhere in between, riding the lines between cliché and convoluted and intriguing and suspenseful. The movie delves deeper into the story of the demonic Samara in a way that provides enough mystery to satisfy fans of the first films while allowing casual fans to catch up quickly on the action. On top of that it’s much more watchable than “The Ring Two” and is a bit more straight forward than it’s predecessor as the characters put together the pieces of the puzzle left by Samara. It all comes around to a dramatic, if not completely obvious, conclusion that, while satisfying in its own way, does little to earn the film any real credit.
It’s hard to call “Rings” a train wreck of a movie, but it’s not great by any definition of the word. I personally don’t think it’s that bad. Having not watched the second film since its release I caught back up pretty quickly and found myself engrossed in the film and entertained the whole way. However it lacks a certain charm. While entertaining, it’s unoriginal and predictable and even though it outshines the second film it pales in comparison to the phenomenon that was the first in almost every aspect and will easily be lost in the shadow of much greater horror films that have preceded it and are still to come.
If you are a fan of the series, “Rings” will surely give you something to enjoy and to appreciate. If you’re a fan of horror you may get a bit of fun out of watching the story unfold. However for the average movie goer “Rings” is nothing more than a bit of popcorn entertainment for a few cheep scares here and there. Nothing special, but certainly not the worst horror movie to hit the big screen in recent years, “Rings” is as intriguing as it will be forgettable when all is said and done.