“Rings” Review: aka This Ring Should Be Thrown Into Mt. Doom
The following is a true story.
In 1999 a friend of mine gave me a VHS tape of a Japanese horror movie called Ringu. He said, “this is pretty good, you should check it out.” I knew nothing of Ringu previously, it wasn’t released in the US yet, but I knew this person to be a trusted horror aficionado so i took him up on his offer.
One night home alone, with all the lights out I popped in this video tape and proceeded to watch this subtitled film. As I was watching I thought to myself this is a creepy little flick with a pretty good solid original story, I am really digging this. Then the end came and the chick crawled out of the TV, I didn’t see that coming at all. Holy fuck. I shut the movie off, stood up, walked around, composed myself, sat back down and continued to watch the rest of the film. I couldn’t believe what I just saw. As a seasoned veteran horror fan, it is moments like this that we live for, that one moment that we actually feel fear. It is a rarity, but when it happens it is something special… like a runner’s high, pure euphoria.
If you are one of those lame brains that are like, “har har nothing scares me,” than I feel sorry for you. Sorry for your limited imagination, isn’t that one of the reasons we watch horror movies, to get scared? Us horror vets are always looking for that next scare, like a junkie trying to chase back down their first high. If you are one of those people that gets scared by everything, you are ridiculous, but I kind of envy you in a way as well.
Ringu may not have had the same effect on you, but for me, all the stars were aligned in creepy perfection that night and I felt true fear. I was so excited I had to tell everyone about this movie.
Eventually word spread and people seemed to grab onto the same long haired black beauty that I witnessed. So much so, that Japanese horror even got its own sub-genre called J-horror. The market soon became flooded with creepy long haired ghost girls and I bought right into it. A Ringu O and Ringu 2 were made, and though they had their moments they never really captured the atmosphere and thrill of the original.
I eventually found out that Ringu was based on a book of the same title by Koji Suzuki. That was a must have and out I went to track it down only to find out their were also two sequels to the book, Sprial and Loop. The book was vastly different than the movie and didn’t nearly have the same impact, the sequel movies followed the original Ringu movie and not the Ringu books which went off on their own, entirely different story. I found the Ringu books to be one of those rare occasions, like Jaws, where the movie is much better than it’s source material.
If I were to read the book Ringu before seeing the movie, I would have never have thought the book could be made into one of the most scariest films ever.
Like most good Non-US flicks, we Americans feel the need to remake them for a US audience that is too lazy or naive to see the original. So Ringu was remade for American audiences as The Ring and directed by Gore Verbinksi and starring Naomi Watts. Obviously not being much of a fan of remade movies that really have no purpose to be remade, I was still excited to see what America’s take would be like interrupting Ringu. Could they actually capture, the fear, tension and atmosphere the original grasped so well?
All in all, I was pleased with the remake, of course the original was better, especially the ending coming out of the TV, but I felt the remake did a good job in translation. It didn’t have the same effect on me that Ringu had, but that was probably mostly because I knew exactly what was coming. And with every successful horror movie, a sequel is bound to follow and The Ring Two was made.
Severely lacking from the original, it like the original Japanese sequels, it had it’s moments but failed in comparison and that was the end of the Ring saga.
Eventually J-Horror died down and the genre found a new trend to latch onto. Years later in Japan Ringu being the huge success it was, they revived the story and released Sadako 3-D, then Sadako 2 3-D and eventually, the I guess inevitable Sadako vs. Kayako. In essence Ring vs Ju-On aka The Grudge. The equivalent of Freddy vs. Jason in the US.
Somewhere at the end of all this Hollywood felt it was time we needed another Ring movie and made Rings. Originally supposed to be released in November 2015, but then being pushed around and rescheduled it finally found its way to the theatres this weekend. That alone should have been a red flag as to what to expect from this third Ring installment. However, last year I felt as a horror fan I did not live up to my duties and see as many new horror films as I could. This year I vowed to do better even if that meant going to see movies that would be against my better judgement. I had a rare free Saturday and Rings just opened, so off I went.
I have rambled on long enough so I won’t go to in-depth with all the problems this movie had. I would try and tell you the positive moments but there really are none, just like the curse of the video tape, this review should sit as a warning to you all, to move along and not go see this movie.
The movie opens with a scene of a guy on an airplane, who watched the tape, is cursed and is trying to fly away. But as you know you can’t escape Samara and with minutes to spare his time is up as is your patience when you realize the whole opening scene has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie except maybe give you a refresher on the curse in case you missed the first two movies.
So the parents of dead airplane guy have a yard sale and sell off all his things which includes his old VCR. Yes in 2017, with the last VCRs stopped being made last year, this guy still has an old one. OK yes I still have a VCR, but I am a cinephile, and for sake of argument lets say this guy is too. But I would not buy an old VCR at a yard sale, you know who would though?
Johnny Galecki, a biology teacher who is as unbelievable in this role as he is as a professor in Big Bang Theory, would buy that VCR. He likes to tinker with old VCRs I guess and lo and behold finds the cursed tape stuck in the VCR he just purchased. Of course he watches it, decides to make a digital file copy of it and I am sure you can guess the rest.
Why it took this long for the curse to get transferred from VHS to an mp3 or even DVD, who knows. But that really is not where the main problems lie. Other then an uneventful, completely scare free, looking at your watch to see if it is almost over movie, it completely discredits the first two Ring movies. Wasn’t Samara’s whole deal that she was in a well, hence her dripping wet and the graphic purpose of the Ring title?
Not in this movie, she drips, but not from a well, there is no well in this movie. Our two teenage heroines need to uncover the mystery of who Samara is and where she is. Wait, didn’t they already do that in the first two movies? Uh yes, I believe they did, but they do it again in this movie and surprise Samara’s back story is totally different. Even when the story eventually comes to a close, nope this is a horror movie so we need that twist ending, which is totally unnecessary and out of place, but like a ring, there can be no beginning or end.
Even despite the whole story that made no sense, assuming the viewer never has seen the previous two Ring movies they do a pretty lackluster job as explaining the whole curse and even showing it to you. Yes there is a scene of Samara crawling out of a flat screen TV. COMPLETELY CGI’d!! So so lame. As i said, there are no scares, there is no atmosphere and the screen writing is amateurish at best.
When we need information, there is none given. When we know exactly what is happening because we see it on the screen, the actors feel the need to describe to us what we are seeing. Big men get knocked out with tea cups and people don’t check their phones only to find messages magically appear on them that were sent days ago. Honestly the whole movie is a complete mess with no redeeming values. It was quite obvious why this movie was shelved and it should have stayed that way.
Like a ring itself, The Ring series in it’s entirety has gone from one of the best movies I have seen in the beginning to being absolutely one of the worst movies I have seen at the end. Full circle.