Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Writers: David Loucka (screenplay), Jacob Estes (screenplay)
Stars: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki
Review by Gilbert Seah
Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez (BEFORE THE FALLS) and written by David Loucka, Jacob Aaron Estes and Akiva Goldsman, RINGS, the third film in the RINGS horror franchise (after THE RING and THE RING 2) attempts to blend in American psychological horror to the Japanese ‘watch the video – then you die’ scenario. It does not work.
When one goes to see an American remake of a cheap Japanese horror franchise, one had better keeps ones hopes low. The question is how low to keep ones hopes at to still NOT be disappointed. The film’s first 10 minutes set up the audience for these low expectations. A cute guy is seated, and sweating on an economy flight. When the girl next to him asks what is wrong, he explains that he has seen a video and is to die within 7 days and that he has 5 more minutes to survive. So, stupidly enough, he has to leave for the washroom when the seat belt sign is on. Black stuff flows on the floor, he is pulled on the floor by an unseen force and the plane crashes. All this makes absolutely no sense at all. And neither do much of the rest of the film. The odd thing is that the film gets really boring within the next 10 minutes.
The film’s main characters are two teens, who are very much in love. Holt (Alex Roe) leaves for University while Julia (Matilda Lutz) stays home pining for him. When Holt does the ‘watch the video and then die in 7 days’ gig, Julia drives up to save him. All these problems are caused by Holt’s Professor Gabriel (The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki). Somehow, the smart one seems to be Julia who has all the answers. Julia figures out that she has to free some girl in order to remove the curse which she is now caught with – which proves that she is not that smart after all. The villain of the piece turns out to be a blind fat priest called Burke (Vincent D’Onofrio – he played the recruit that shot himself in Stanley Kubrick’s FULL METAL JACKET) who might end up unforgettable in this role for all the wrong reasons.
The story turns into the horror story of a town that had a missing talented girl. The talented girl was kidnapped for almost a year, and put in chains in a basement by the priest, Burke. The attempt to Americanize RINGS with the video horror and this kidnapping story is a weak excuse of a plot that is just too flimsy to work. The tactic is not fooling anyone either.
The only thing going for the film are the scary images – most duplicated from the Japanese franchise.
For a horror flick, RINGS cost a massive $25 million to make. This will add to the estimated $500 million loss Paramount is is writing down from its film division this year. Watch the film, then sell your stock within 7 days.
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