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by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 3, 2017

It's been almost ten years since the American version of Samara crawled out of our television sets and into our horror-loving hearts. While still remaining somewhat popular in Japan, the "Ring" series hasn't really been much of a thing stateside since the excellent 2005 remake of "Ringu" hit our shores, followed by the inept sequel in 2008.

The scary movie powers-that-be decided a reboot/sequel was in order so here we go again with "Rings" with it's requisite spooky videotapes and a nonsensical curse that fails to be frightening on any level. (Except maybe at the sight of a bloated Vincent Dinofrio hamming it up as a blind man.)

The film starts cleverly with a guy on a plane thinking he might have survived the Samara curse only to spell doom for himself and the rest of the passengers and crew. Cut to two years later and a Professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) finds that exact guy's VCR and tape at a flea market and takes it home to watch. Suddenly, he's a victim of the curse which he then selfishly spins into a scientific experiment that he hopes will prove the existence of a soul. (huh?) (It's also an experiment that makes no sense. Why do people still die when they have seven days to make someone else watch the tape? Just show it to your friends, have them show it to someone else, and so on. It's not that difficult a curse to get out of.)

Anyway, he enlists a new student named Holt (Alex Roe) to help and when he stops calling his girlfriend Julia (Matilda Lutz) she heads off to college to find him. That's when she gets wrapped up in a new version of the Samara video. You see, the copy that she watches includes ANOTHER video embedded in the file. Julia is sure she is being given a message and sets out to solve the mystery of Samara. Or the mystery that we already don't know from the other two films.

The rest of the movie is pure mystery with zero suspense and absolutely no scares. Aside from advancing Samara's history a little more, there is no point to this sequel and since it is not the least bit terrifying, you wonder why the filmmakers wasted their time.

Sadly, the very last scene of the film is what the entire movie should have been about, but alas, we get a tepid retread of the same old mythology and creepy girl crawling out of whatever TV is nearby.

Director F. Javier Guitierrez made a minor splash with his well-received thriller "Before the Fall" in 2008, but hasn't done much since. Here, he is strapped by a wooden script and studio requirements that don't allow him to take the story in any sort of interesting direction. The acting by the two leads is admirable, but it certainly can't save the movie from the curse of the terrible "Ring" sequels.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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