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by F. Javier Gutiérrez

Remember The Ring? Or better yet, do you remember the incredible 1998 Japanese horror gem Ringu? If you are a true horror fan, you certainly do. So, you better treasure these memories, because the latest franchise horror sequel could do some serious damage. And damage is never good.

Rings,, this clunky horror sequel, has no organic reason to exist. Why? First of all, it has nothing spectacular to add to the original spine-chilling story, in spite of clichéd ideas and weak performances. Second, despite making use of today’s technology - it feels completely out of date. And last but not least, it’s so conveniently predictable, that no silly jump scares or spooky set-ups can top the impact Ringu - or even the American remake graced with the performance of Naomi Watts- left in our hearts.

We all somehow remember the story. It revolves around an unmarked videotape connected to a girl named Samara who died violently and whose malevolent spirit haunts the video. Immediately after viewing it, there’s a phone call and an unearthly voice mutters “Seven Days”. That’s the time the viewer has left before their violent death, unless they make a copy of the tape and get someone else to watch it - and hence pass the curse onto them.

Rings toys exactly with this idea. However, this time the story centres on a young couple, Holt (Alex Roe) and Julia (Matilda Lutz). As they are going through the tough phase of separation since Holt is off to college and Julia has to stay behind to care for her sick mother, his sudden disappearance stirs waves of concern.

Holt’s favourite teacher, Professor Gabriel (portrayed by the unlikely choice of Johnny Galecki) plays a key role in the mysterious happenings, as he has dedicated his teaching career to unlocking the dark secrets behind the tape’s existence and Samara’s killing spree.

Obviously, Gutiérrez and his team wanted to mimic the iconic Ringu. Did they succeed? Not really. Not only because the young stars of their sequel are not up to the task of reviving that level of horror, but also because the story has been extensively copied and even parodied over the years. Samara’s flickering and unnatural presence creeping through the TV set is something that still lingers in our minds, yes, but it’s not something that can cause - even remotely - the same level of horror, just because we get to re-watch it.

The movie’s biggest problem lies in the overwhelming sense of apathy; indifferent characters whose lives don’t really matter, random events forced to make sense, and a hazy narrative that made the originally simple storyline incoherent and dull.

In the end, Rings doesn’t scare and it doesn’t revive any former glory. Do you know what it does? It puts the ‘ring’ in bo-ring!

Maria Kriva, HMS

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