Delight in Decay – On the Reel: Rings

I almost fell asleep. I almost FELL ASLEEP. I almost fell asleep in a theater. I almost fell asleep in a theater THREE different times. I almost fell asleep in a theater three different time watching a horror movie!!!!!!

I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. In fact I have a tradition of seeing “crap horror” at one particular theater and thought Rings would fit right in. And it did. Now I’m not going to totally bash this film because there were some very good ideas and some good actors involved, and dismissing that would be wrong. I watch a lot of terrible movies, in fact I find it calming and will have them on at almost all times. It is few and far between when a movie has no redeeming qualities, so in that way, this one is like most “crap horror”.

***Spoilers Ahead***

Let me start by addressing the elephant in the room… Leonard. By which I mean, Johnny Galecki. I love Big Bang Theory and so this was a little bit of a distraction, also because he was playing Professor Gabriel, who was very similar to a toned down Leonard. I think he’s a great actor and in my opinion he stole the show every scene he was in. I wanted to see more and more of him but of course the film wasn’t going to let that happen. What’s most disappointing is it almost tricks you into like maybe you get to see more of him, he’s like fleeing the police and salvaging his research like he’s going to be this cool badass renegade scientist. Then he realizes something about the mark on her hand and your like ‘YES more Johnny’, then it cuts away and a little while later cuts back and he’s dying after a car crash! In a Final Destination style he dies by being electrocuted in a series of odd events, presumably I guess done by Samara.

That was one thing that as a little odd. It seemed like they really played with the scope of how she interacts with her victims. In the beginning, right off the bat, a guy dies in a plane crash. My first thought was, well but everyone else didn’t see the tape. Samara flickers it on the screen in the back of all the head rests briefly but thats it. Even so, wouldn’t everyone else on the plane have 7 days? I guess not cause she crashes the plane.

I get that this was a plot device mainly to get the tape to Leonard, or Professor Gabriel, but it was still kind of strange as an audience member to see her take down a plane in order to kill two people. Now I didn’t mention the first mainly because it’s set up poorly. The man on the flight is all like I just need to survive 5 minutes, then the girl he talking to’s sister finds out and knows what going on. I only know the idea is that they had both seen the tape at the same time cause of wikipedia. When I was watching it I thought she had maybe been a survivor. I’m not the best with faces in cameos so I wondered if she was supposed to be someone from the previous films, but the director has stated that the film takes place 13 years after the ring so that might be unlikely.

The deaths in this movie were lackluster, and anytime Samara was on screen the CGI was very apparent and at times hard to watch. I have to say also that the lead character was made so incredibly pure it made her sheer invincibility and inability to be frightened or moved by anything that happened in the movie irritating. I found myself growing frustrated by her empathy for Samara. She was never really afraid, which made her near impossible to relate to. She was like Alice going down a rabbit hole of death, looking around and  saying ‘I think I’ll keep going’. Her actions seem illogical. Later in the film one of the main characters, the blind man, tries to emphasize that she’s special because others have not gotten this far but for the audience it doesn’t feel like she’s special, because everyone is treated with a kind of bland response.

The biggest flaw of all however, was just how extremely dated this movie felt. The movie acts like it’s doing something new and fresh, but many of the deaths we’ve seen in the previous Ring movies or other early 2000’s horror flicks. This made much of the film boring and predictable.

Overall the movie just didn’t feel like it belonged. I watch a lot of low budget and terrible horror movies, but it’s disappointing to find a movie that seemed like it had some production value but was resting on the fact The Ring was popular. I wish they would have not taken this movie in such a serious direction. Maybe then it would have been a more successful execution of this sequel.

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