Whoever thought that trying to make a well-dwelling, fourth wall breaking, mass murdering girl sympathetic would be a good idea could not have been more wrong.
Which is exactly what Rings attempts. I might root for Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees as anti-heroes whilst they waltz around slashing up their generally super dumb victims, because they’re fun characters. But you’re not going to get me rooting for Rings’ Samara, no matter how much you play the “man is the real monster” card. I’ve seen that creepy little shit crawl out of too many televisions, and mess up too many fools to even consider giving her the time of day. More importantly, I just don’t want to be siding with her. The more shrouded in mystery she is the better. In humanising Samara you’re only demystifying her, and in demystifying her you’re taking away what made her scary in the first place.
Lead character of Rings, Julia (Matilda Lutz), is lovingly told, “you were never afraid of her” towards the end of the film. Well, no, neither was I. Because it’s simply all just a retreading of what we’ve watched before in the franchise. A person watches a tape. They receive a phone call telling them that they have seven days to live. Seven days later, the poorly postured undead child Samara kills them dead. Rinse and repeat. The repetition isn’t helped by thinly drawn characters, a terrible script, the film’s vague use of its own rules, a ten minute stretch where essentially nothing happens at all, and fake out jump scares that you can see coming a mile off.
Inevitably, my mind started to wander about a third of the way through. Here is but a snippet of the internal dialogue that went through my head when watching Rings:
“Is that Leonard from The Big Bang Theory? It kind of looks like him, but a glummer version. Oh, his less “geeky”, more “masculine” voice is slipping…it’s definitely him. Huh, I don’t think that I’ve ever actually seen him in a close-up. They don’t really shoot close-ups on Big Bang. I wonder why that is? He looks a lot older in this…Maybe that’s why. Wait, his character is a scientist? He’s not exactly stretching himself. Is this all he’s going to be doing after Big Bang ends? Miserable versions of Leonard. Is he even a decent actor? Why is he in this? This character is just a bad human being. Why would he leave an answer phone message with none of the important information? He’s one of those people! Bloody Leonard!”
So, long story short, no, you don’t need to bother. It’s the origin story that literally no one wanted or asked for.
Rating (out of 5):