We fade back in, catching up with a young woman named Skye (Aimee Teegarden) looking through some old objects being sold at a market. It’s here she meets a college professor named Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), who’s a lover of vintage, as he so bluntly points out. Indulging in this love of vintage, Gabriel buys a video player, and when taking it home he discovers a tape inside. This tape? Why, it’s the cursed Rings video. We cut to black again. Two protagonists have been introduced. The title appears. Now the film has been set up, yes? Wrong again, for the real protagonists come in the form of Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) and Holt (Alex Roe), two teenagers who get themselves mixed up in a mystery surrounding the origins of the mysterious murderous video.
In my experience, when watching bad horror films, no matter just how terrible they may be, there’s usually one scene that’s a little creepy or one concept that has the potential to work. Devil’s Due was my least favourite film of 2014, but even that film managed to bring with it at least a hint or originality. Everything about it failed, never able to step up and become a legitimately scary movie, but it tried. Not once during Rings did my heart race. Not once in Rings did I jump out of my seat. Not once in Rings was an original, unique or somewhat creative idea brought forth. Nothing new is brought to the table in this god-awful excuse for a horror film that fails in every single department. The only scary thing this film brought to the table was Alex Roe’s eyebrows.
Aesthetically speaking, the colour pallet and the set design are devoid of colour, visually draining in the worst way possible. Taking away from the liveliness of reality and replacing it with a bleak outlook at life can work, especially in the genre of horror, but with Rings, every shot is just dull. There’s a distinct lack of creativity to be found here, no effort put into anything. The Conjuring 2 was not only one of the best films of 2016, but I’d even go so far as to say one of the best horror films of all time. The sets, costumes and lighting were all used in a way to effectively increase the tension, playing tricks on your mind and instilling a sense of unease throughout the entire runtime. Rings, on the other hand, feels like the cast and crew just rocked up at whatever location they could book five minutes prior to filming.
Can we discuss Vincent D’Onofrio’s character in this film for a moment? First of all, why did an actor of his caliber even agree to do something as unbearably rubbish as this? But secondly, his character didn’t make an ounce of sense. He goes back and forth between good guy and bad guy, even when it’s finally established with side he rests on. Every second line contradicts the first, his arguments unable to form a shred of cohesion. He does, however, provide the single funniest moment of the entire movie. During what’s meant to be a tense, dramatic moment (but very much isn’t), Julia, who is continuing to use the same single expression she’s used for the entire film, asks him what’s making the cricketing sound. He replies, in the most over dramatic way possible, “cicadas,” and I legitimately couldn’t stop laughing for a solid two minutes.
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