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Rings – Somewhere between Citizen Kane and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Somewhere south of the great Citizen Kane (1941) and north of the ludicrous Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978) sits this ‘coulda been better / shoulda been worse’ second sequel to top notch horror The Ring (2002). Rings is 60% flat-out yawn, 30% ‘hmm, that’s kinda interesting’ and 10% a little tense. There’s nothing really scary, nothing overly clever, and not an ounce of originality, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

The malevolent Samara returns in 'Rings'
 The malevolent Samara returns in ‘Rings’

The Ring introduced mainstream horror fans to the iconic Japanese story of Ringu, featuring the malevolent child-spirit of Samara. The Ring, starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman and Brian Cox, was a truly thrilling movie. Atmospheric, disturbing, and visually attractive, it stands as one of the great horror movies of the 21st Century. The Ring 2 (2005) was a tawdry mess that attempted to peer a little deeper into the world of Samara but failed to do little more than make us wish the whole story had been left alone.

Rings in no way lives up to the original, but is a break-even effort that gives us more insight into the Samara back-story in a far more successful manner than Ring 2 managed. Matilda Lutz is passable as Julia, the latest victim to have watched Samara’s deadly video. She has risked her life to save boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe), who wastes little time getting his shirt off. Holt has watched the video as part of an experiment being run by college professor Gabriel (Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki) who dials in a perfectly modest performance. The trio’s investigation leads them to former pastor Burke (Vincent D’Onofrio, who manages to lift the film in the second half).

Samara comes out of the television? Check. There’s a well? Check. Endless footage of a mysterious video? Check. It’s all here. Watch it or don’t. You won’t be missing anything, and you’ll barely remember it two days later, let alone seven.

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