Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Stars: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

So this is a direct sequel to something that came out 15 years ago. This is a movie that has five writing credits divided between three people. This film came out in 2017, but it was supposed to come out some months before that, and also a number of months before that. So yeah, all three of those things just scream quality in a movie, but let’s go into this very late, unexpected (and unwanted?), sequel with an open mind and see if it can surprise us. Hey, stranger things have happened.

This story starts off on something that will either be ridiculous to you, or the coolest things you’ve ever seen: a Ring ghost girl attack on a crowded passenger jet. For me, it was the former. From there a college professor buys an old VCR (yes, in 2016 when this movie was set to be released) that has that victim’s last tape still in it. You guessed right, it is the infamous Ring tape. After giving it a watch, in order to save his own butt, and to prove some silly theory of his, he gets way, way, way too many students that could even keep this a secret, involved in a chain letter-like scam so they can all “safely” watch the haunted tape. Naturally things don’t go as planned (who could have guessed that?) and our lead in the film, a young woman named Julia, gets sucked into the weird world when her college boyfriend gets involved with the professor.

What follows is the typical “seven days” countdown clock to solve the mystery as to what’s going on and hopefully find some loophole to survive the next week. This time around, the history of how the evil little girl, Samara, came to be is examined. And if you think that’s a good idea, you would be wrong. It’s about as you would expect, adds nothing of importance to the mythology, with the highlight being a middle of the road performance by Vincent D’Onofrio. Admittedly, D’Onofrio phoning it in is still much better than what most actors can deliver, so that’s something. The rest of the acting in this is the definition of meh, at best, and the direction by second-timer F. Javier Gutiérrez is uninspired. The scares are mostly nonexistent, and what very few there are have to rely on the old BOO! jump scare clichés to get any mileage. Add to that some new silliness like a now-longer haunted video that never existed before and the aforementioned needless backstory that, if anything, only weakens the mystique and the horror behind The Ring story. The final Pièce De Résistance is a dump truck full of plot holes that make no sense in the slightest if you stop to think about them for more than 3.7 seconds. Put that all together and you have a pretty bland, boarding on bad, sequel nobody was asking for, and really, nobody should waste their time on.

On to the extras and special features that Paramount put on this Blu-ray/DVD/digital triple pack. Ther are 14 extended and deleted scenes collected here, including an alternate ending. There is a making-of featurette called “Terror Comes Full Circle” and another short featurette about bring Samara back to the big screen. So the disc isn’t overstuffed with goodies, but neither is it barebones like so many releases from the big studios, so good on them for that.

Rings is not a good sequel, but then neither was The Ring Two, so I’m not overly surprised by that fact. It is not aggressively awful, it’s just dull as dishwater and a chore to sit through. If someone was hoping to reboot the series with this movie, they failed, as even with the mandatory sequel bait ending, I can’t imagine too many people wanting to come back for more of this. If you are a diehard Ring fan, maybe give it a watch when it comes out May 2nd, but everyone else can avoid it.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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