The last film in the Ring franchise was only 12 years ago so it was odd to say the least to see another horror film about a videotape that kills you in 7 days. Do we still care and how far can it really go?
Synopsis: A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a movie within the movie that no one has ever seen before.
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, and Johnny Galecki.
Writers: David Loucka and Jacob Estes.
Director: F. Javier Gutierrez.
Running Time: 102mins
To answer the question from the introduction, instead of continuing with the current franchise, this film serves as a reboot of the franchise. Was it really necessary after 12 years, the answer is no but here it is nonetheless. The film eventually gets there but the plot muddles its way through. The problem with the film is that it offered absolutely nothing new in terms of storytelling. Since everyone is already aware of the idea, nothing ever came as much of a surprise.
The story was both confusing and did not make much sense. It was about a woman named Julia (Lutz) who when looking for her missing boyfriend named Holt (Roe), uncovers a culture surrounding the infamous videotape that kills you within 7 days of watching it. This group was run by Holt’s biology professor named Gabriel (Galecki). He used the tape as an experiment to study the presence of a soul after death. The film didn’t really go into it.
The film introduced the idea of passing a copy of the tape to someone else to pass the curse along and save themselves (I don’t remember if that was the case in the previous two films). To save Holt, who was on the verge of becoming Samara’s (Bonnie Morgan) latest victim, Julia watched the video but unlike past victims, she was somehow different to the degree that the video itself changed slightly.
The film than became more of an origin story of Samara as Julia received visions from Samara. These visions provided clues to Julia as to where she was in order for she and Holt to find her so she can be set free. In finding her, Julia and Holt learned about the her past and the mysterious city where she was from. This part was hard to follow because it featured too much exposition and was so full of cliches and did not offer anything new that it was difficult to get into.
In terms of horror, it was not a scary film. It had a few jump scares but it was kind of cool to see Samara interact with more advanced technology with her on computers and smartphones. Maybe focusing too much on establishing a new franchise, the film fumbles the ending and its foreshadowing to future films (whether or not there will be more remains to be seen).
The film pretty much abandoned the original ring concept and chose to explore Samara’s backstory. This may disappoint some but the ending made the film feel like a prequel and look to go back to that type of story in the future. The acting was okay all around but it almost didn’t matter as the characters were not the most interesting to watch.
Overall, this was an unnecessary reboot, featuring muddled storytelling, uninteresting characters, and takes the familiar story in a different direction that may upset fans of the original two films.
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