Let me start this off by saying, I’m by NO MEANS an expert on horror movies. I find that as a viewer, the majority of my time spent watching anything with jump scares is usually spent hiding under my jacket and covering my ears. However, my boyfriend is most likely the greatest secret horror movie fan alive and under his guidance, we decided to take the risk and go watch the Rings remake. In all honesty, I regret it.
Let me back up. I spent 4 years of my life in Japan, and found myself fascinated with the culture of horror movies in the Asian community. Based on my time there, I’m a firm believer that the way in which horror movies are produced in places like Taiwan, Korea and Japan are far superior to that of any western equivalent. Rings is no exception, and I walked in already nervous with how this movie could be done.
The franchise is considered a classic by horror movie fans, playing with the use of motifs found in films like Ju-on and Marebito, also considered classics. The original film relies on the fact that at the time of its release (1998), the concept of its main villain was still new and the scares were original. At this time though, with all the trash that passes as scares in other films, I already sensed a potentially fatal flaw in this movie.
The conflict is practically the same in both movies. It follows a young woman by the name of Julia as she attempts to solve the mystery of a video tape that is rumored to kill whoever watches it in exactly 7 days. The plot is modernized and given a more philosophical view, utilizing the notion that the video is a way of proving the existence of the soul. Julia teams up with her boyfriend and a college professor interested in using the video for an experiment, and begins to follow the clues left behind by Samara, aka the woman in the video.
One of the great flaws of the plot (and there are many) is the fact that the story is pretty generic. I saw nothing special, the characters were bland, and the pacing always seemed kinda awkward. There was nothing to ever really latch onto to distinguished itself from its predecessor, ultimately falling into the crack of “passable movies”. No risks were taken. The story played like hundreds of generic horror movies before it, making it far too predictable. I found myself sitting up in my chair looking all Sherlockian while I tried to see if I could piece together the exact mystery Julia was investigating instead of hiding for my life. Halfway through the movie, I could predict what was likely to happen next with ease. Horror films should not be boring; this one was.
This is my number one complaint with the movie: it wasn’t scary. Nowhere in this movie did I actually feel any sense of fear. The jump scares could be seen a mile away. The character of Samara, the character that has struck fear in the hearts of fans for almost 20 years, was nothing more than a cardboard placeholder that could have been replaced with any other monster and gotten the same effect. Suffice to say, the movie didn’t age well. With us being so used to the same old scares, Rings never stood a chance.
I do have to mention the ending, too, which I found to be the worst part of the plot. Forcing a book of Revelation style ending made absolutely no sense in context. Not with all that we had learned about the character of Samara up to this point. I won’t spoil it, but it comes way out of left field without any warning or sense.
In case you can’t tell, I found this movie was absolutely terrible overall. I have never been so frustrated in my entire life. The Ring franchise was near and dear to my heart and Hollywood butchered it with a remake no one asked for. It isn’t worth wasting your money on, and I would honestly avoid it like the plague.