In Theatres: 
Feb 03, 2017
Running Time: 
102 minutes

Rings attempts to answer the question of Samara’s motivations. Why does she reach out with this VHS chain letter of death? Is there some unfinished business? Is there something she wants the world to know? Is there more than revenge? Can there be peace for her soul? What does she hope to gain?

The mystery unfolds as we follow a duo of the most basic, white bread and mayo college teens imaginable; Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) and Holt (Alex Roe). They’re giggling in bed together on Holt’s last morning before he heads for campus. He attempts a moment of seduction by reciting what he considers the most romantic story of all time, that of Orpheus and Eurydice (which I find incredibly suspect). Julia, unphased and slightly irritated questions why is it always the man saving the woman.

Soon after arriving on campus Holt stops answering Julia’s calls and texts. He spends less and less time Skyping her.  When she receives a mysterious call from a woman who is looking for Holt too, she springs into action, packs a bag and heads for the university.

Once there, she discovers Holt’s professor, Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), has set up a club of those who’ve seen the video. He keeps track of how many days they have left and helps the afflicted find the next victim in the chain. Gabriel is full of hubris and believes he can unlock the secrets of the afterlife by studying the video. Predictably Julia saves Holt from Samara’s curse by watching his copy of the video, but she sees something different. Moreover, Julia is marked by strange rash of dots on her hand and determines the visions she sees are messages from Samara, begging her to unlock the mystery of the curse.

Julia follows her visions to a small town where they uncover the horrific story of Samara’s mother, a local teen and Samara’s father, Burke, the town’s former priest (Vincent D'Onofrio). When Julia goes to Burke with what she’s discovered, not knowing he is Samara’s father, he does his best Daredevil impression and tries kill her. Julia, determined to bring Samara peace, bests Burke and finds Samara’s remains in the walls.

Like Orpheus, Julia follows Samara into the underworld in an attempt to bring her light and this time it is the women who save themselves.  Although wholly unoriginal, this would have been a nice foil to the opening scene if it weren’t all completely undermined by the final sequence. In the light of new day, after the night spent burning Samara’s remains to purge the evil, Holt remains curious about Julia’s marks. He plugs the dots into a braille interpreter to find they spell “rebirth”. Julia is possessed and Samara’s video is uploaded to the internet.

Rings is more of a mystery than a horror film. At that, it’s the kind of horror film you watch with friends and talk crap to the screen as you watch. I’m eagerly anticipating hearing about it on the How Did This Get Made? They say, “Before you die, you sing the Ring”. Except this time, nah.

Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
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