"Rings,” the third film in the apparently ongoing Ring franchise, could best be described as a soft reboot.
The story picks up with a whole new cast many years after Ring 2.
Yet again, it involves a race against time as a supernatural curse begins killing off people one by one. And therein lies the biggest problem with “Rings.”
For those who have seen the first film – or for that matter the original Japanese horror movie of the same name – you’ll no doubt get a sense of déjà vu as the theme follows several of the same plot points beat for beat.
That’s not to say that there aren’t original elements to this newest film, but they either raise too many questions that are never answered or are never fully flushed out.
This leaves fans of the original movies a couple steps ahead of the script as there are not many twists or turns that they won’t see coming.
For those new to the franchise, however, there are many points when characters will bum rush the audience with clunky dialogue to fill them on what the curse is and its origins.
And then there are the main characters.
Starring Matilda Lutz as Julia and Alex Roe as Holt, our two love-struck leads embody everything cliché and annoying about teenagers in love.
They never manage to feel like real people. They don’t bring gravity to situations where it is desperately needed and neither do they ever feel like a real couple.
In fact, you’ll have a hard time remembering what their names are as you watch the film. Bigger names like Vincent D’Onofrio and Johnny Galecki do manage to bring a bit more weight to the story. However, neither of them is in the film long enough to make a real impression. Neither can lift the main performances.
However, I will say these actors are given so little to work with that it’s hard to see anyone pulling off the role effectively.
But what about the horror elements. “Rings” is at least scary, right? Unfortunately, that is the film’s biggest downside.
None of the tension or disturbing imagery that made “The Ring” such a popular scary movie managed to make the transition to this newest installment.
That’s not to say there aren’t a few effective jump scares sprinkled throughout, but the scenes feel like they could have been plugged in anywhere in any cheap horror movie.
At times the script feels like it was originally a separate movie that had elements of “The Ring” forced into it just to make it a sequel to the first two films. In fact, the climax of “Rings” seems to have been ripped directly from another horror film, “Don’t Breathe.”
For those of you who are big fans of “The Ring,” I would wait for this to come out on video or see a matinee showing. For everyone else, this is one cursed video that should have died with VCR.
1 out of 4 miners.