Vampire Owl: This sounds a lot cooler. Does the “s” in the end mean that there are many rings?
Vampire Bat: Why does this feel cooler when the critical appreciation has been so low with this one?
Vampire Owl: Because there seems to be more than one ring. So, there could be more than one spirit in play.
Vampire Bat: Are you going towards talking about the wedding ring that is planned to be given to Lady Death?
Vampire Owl: Yes, something like that too.
Vampire Bat: Dude, don’t you know that being married to Lady Death means that you have to die?
Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am already dead and risen. I am undead, we all are.
Vampire Bat: But the undead can also die in some ways, and you know that too.
Vampire Owl: But death by Lady Death has its special advantages.
Vampire Bat: Well, it is your undead call in the end.
[Gets three cups of masala tea with aloo paratha].
What is the movie about? :: On an airplane, two passengers Carter (Zach Roerig) and Kelly (Lizzie Brochere) discover that it has been seven days since they both had watched the infamous Samara Morgan’s (Zoe Pessin) cursed videotape which has been circulating well to take enough lives all around. The two realise that they are going to die soon, but at some point, it feels that being on airplane provides them some protection as the cursed entity from the video tape can’t reach there as they are so much above the ground and in the presence of many people, but it turns out that they are wrong. There seems to be some problem with all the screens of the airplane whether it is of the pilots or the passengers, as the evil entity arrives on the video, and the plane crashes killing them all, with no evidence of what caused the disaster.
So, what happens next? :: Julia (Matilda Lutz) sends off her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) to the college, and after being in contact for months, suddenly has no information about him. One day, she finds Skye (Aimee Teegarden), a beautiful girl on the other side of the video chat, and there is no sign of Holt. So, she decides to search for him all by herself. She reaches the college, and find the professor whom Holt said was an interesting person with whom he was working with projects – Gabriel Brown (Johnny Galecki). But the professor denies having known this particular person, and tells her that she should move on, as people of his age finds something more interesting, or maybe it is about him finding someone better. But she doesn’t give up as she follows Gabriel to a secret area of the college, which is more than what meets the eye.
So, how does the big mystery reveal with its twists? :: There she meets the beautiful girl whom she had seen in the video chat, Skye, who takes her to her apartment, and asks her to watch a video. But Holt who contacts them asks her not to, and then there is the evil entity, Samara arriving, and she takes Skye’s life while Julia locks her inside the bathroom. Holt arrives soon to confirm everything, and she comes to know that he is in trouble. Gabriel, who had bought a VCR with the tape inside, had watched the mysterious video, and was keeping on transferring the curse to another person before the seven days end, a process that has been going on and on, so that nobody died. Gabriel was so much interested in learning about this tape which is the gateway to the other world, so that the process continues. Unable to watch Holt die, Julia watches his copy and carries over the curse to him, but this time, the video is more than the usual one.
The defence of Rings :: This is the tale that becomes more of an origin story than anything else. This could have easily been a reboot, or the tale of another girl who is not the popular horror character who has been there for so long. The mystery factor gets the advantage over the horror side. Also, among the cast, it is Aimee Teegarden who seems to be able to become the best scream queen, and they could have used her throughout the movie, while Matilda Lutz brings enough of the same. There is something that we can always be sure about though; it is that a movie from The Ring franchise will always be that, and no matter how much people try to degrade a movie from the series, there will always be something in it, as the continuation of one of the most loved horror movies of all-time, and what might be the best horror adaptation from the Japanese.
The Claws of flaw :: You would expect that a movie like this which has a powerful foundation can do very well to make this franchise even better, but that is not the case, as there is no symbol of improvement everyone, and at times, one has to wonder if this has deviated so much that Rings is a movie which has not much to do with the franchise except for the antagonist proclaiming the same. The movie also has a certain shortage of scares, which is surprising, because the antagonist here is someone who has attained an iconic status, not just with the movies of this franchise, but also with the Scary Movie franchise, most notably Scary Movie 3 which had used the scary moments to evoke laughter brilliantly. The expectations were so high, but what was delivered was just a movie just manages to do enough because we had forgotten most of that movie which released fifteen years ago, and the gap here is so much to bring a comparison without watching the original again.
How it finishes :: A lot of things have changed since the first movie had released, and there is no doubt that we have a different world for the entity to enter right now. It was like fifteen years ago when the horror genre hadn’t become this huge as far as the common audience are concerned. These are the days when even Malayalam movie industry which focuses so less in horror, thought that bringing a superstar horror movie with high quality special effects was required, and Ezra came into being. Rings might not be anywhere close to bringing justice to the series of novels wriiten by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese versions of the movies, or the first movie which made the big impact and brought alive the other remakes from the Japanese including The Grudge, Dark Water and Pulse. But Rings still remain a movie which can keep the franchise moving forward, and it surely has those moments which will keep you wish for a sequel that could do even better. Just don’t look for a Don’t Breathe, Lights Out or It Follows, as this is the sequel to a big horror movie, and it will be fine enough.
Release date: 3rd February 2017
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, Chuck David Willis, Patrick R. Walker, Zach Roerig, Laura Wiggins, Lizzie Brocheré, Karen Ceesay, Dave Blamy, Michael E. Sanders, Randall Taylor, Drew Grey, Kayli Carter, Jill Jane Clements, Adam Fristoe, Zoe Pessin
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.