I’m not sure who asked for another Ring film. The last film in the series was twelve years ago, and both horror and technology have made the series obsolete. But, someone out there pushed for this. Originally planned for a November 2015 release, then bumped to April 2016, bumped again to October 2016, and then a final reshuffle to a less crowded February 2017, Rings has been through hell. Clearly now it’s our turn.
I had very little expectations, if any, yet Rings still defied them. It might seem too early to call, but I have no issue saying Rings will go down as the worst film of 2017.
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Release Date: February 3, 2017
Taking place twelve years after the events of the first film (though it’s only attached to the rest of the franchise in mythos only), Rings begins with Gabriel (Johnny Galecki, who’s sadly doomed to stay in The Big Bang Theory after this), a college professor, finding a VCR at a swap meet with a mysterious tape inside. After he watches it himself, he starts showing all of his students in this “tail” program in order to study the afterlife. Caught in the middle is Julia (Matilda Lutz) and her dumb cardboard boyfriend (Alex Roe), who both watched the video and are seven days from a Samara (or VHS girl, as I will to refer to her in this review) attack. But the main crux in Rings is Julia is different than every other victim because she alone has been seeing images from something other than the video. So it’s up to her to figure out what those visions mean before VHS girl kills her? Actually, there’s no through line other than figuring out VHS girl’s backstory. It’s a horror film in the loosest sense.
Rings is a huge missed opportunity. Given our new technological lives — where it’s become nearly impossible to miss popular videos and “meme” culture reproduces them rapidly — you’d think this series would capitalize on it. While Rings acknowledges new technologies (by copying the video onto computers), it also pushes it away. For example, at no point is the video shown on anyone’s phone.