'Rings': A tedious scare fest (Review, Rating: *1/2)

February 11 2017
Film: "Rings"; Director: F. Javier Gutierrez; Cast: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D'Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan; Rating: *1/2 A supernatural psychological thriller, "Rings" is the third film of its franchise, the first being "The Ring" released in 2002 and the second being "The Ring Two" released in 2005. The original film was a remake of a Japanese film based on a novel by Koji Suzuki. The other two have not digressed much from the original, but feature the same concept. Watching a creepy video and immediately receiving a phone call warning you of your death in seven days unless you can make a copy and get someone else to watch the video, forms the basis of the concept. With a concept like this, and keeping the digital age in mind, where video tape is substituted by a video file on the computer, the film seems outdated. With social media at its peak, the curse of the video would definitely be of epidemic proportion. But instead, here only a handful of people are affected. This is precisely where the film fails. In today's scenario this premise doesn't work at all. For effects, the film begins with a most tackily executed sequence aboard a flight which also forms the prologue to the narrative and gives a purpose for the existence of the original video tape which is found by Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), a Science Professor who accidentally watches the tape. Gabriel then searches for random people to put the curse onto, in order to continue the chain so that nobody dies. One of his victims happens to be Holt Anthony (Alex Roe), who just arrived at college leaving his girlfriend Julia (Matilda Lutz) behind to worry herself sick when he goes missing. The narrative gathers momentum thence as she tracks Holt down and in an effort to save him, watches the damned video. While the concept of the film is interesting, it is never explained thus making the entire narrative a confusing plot. The screenplay too is convoluted. Also, since the film is designed as a character-driven film, the pace is slow. The events seem like a plain investigation which is predictable and boring. Director F. Javier Gutierrez has mounted the film in a stylish manner with some decent performances, visceral gooey imagery along with some great jump scares created from pounding sounds, dim lighting and dark frames, but this all has been done much better in numerous other films in the past. Overall, "Rings" is a tedious scare fest which fails to impress.