There was a time when The Ring was the scariest film franchise going.
Based on the Japanese novel Ringu, written by Kôji Suzuki and its own cinematic adaptation by Hideo Nakata, the 2002 film introduced North American audiences to the character of Samara and a director named Gore Verbiniski, who would go on to spearhead the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise for Disney. The film was a box office success and scared the pants of audiences, so of course there was a sequel. The Ring Two didn’t make as much money as the first, even with Japanese director Najata at the helm, and the franchise was put on ice.
Until this year, and the third entry in the series, Rings. Which didn’t do very well at the box office and which critics hated.
Having watched the film, which was released this past week on Blu-ray, it’s hard to see why. In this iteration, the dreaded video that guarantees death in seven days to anyone who watches it, is now a sociological experiment led by a college professor played by the Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki. When Julia, the girlfriend of one of his students catches wind of what’s going on, she watches the video to save her boyfriend’s life. From there, the couple seek out the origin of Samara and try to save themselves in the process.
Rings is, unfortunately, not scary at all. It’s also poorly acted for the most part, though the film does pick up when Vincent D’Onofrio shows up mid-way through in the role of a blind man who knows a thing or two about the power of Samara. Hopefully, the young actors who worked with him on Rings took the chance to get some tips from him, since he outshines everyone else in the film.
One is hard-pressed to recommend Rings, unless you’re a D’Onofrio completist OR you want to own the previous two, significantly stronger movies in the franchise, which purchasing the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital version or iTunes 3-pack will get you, and for a reasonable price at that.