Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
demons in the Bible
ghosts in the Bible
“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer
|Featuring:||Vincent D'Onofrio … Burke
Johnny Galecki … Gabriel
Laura Wiggins … Faith
Aimee Teegarden … Sky
Lizzie Brocheré …
Alex Roe … Holt
Zach Roerig … Carter
Bonnie Morgan … Samara
Brandon Larracuente … Hipster Guy
Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz … Julia
Andrea Powell … Julia's Mom
Jill Jane Clements … Mrs. Styx
|Director:||F. Javier Gutiérrez—“Before the Fall” (2008)|
Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation
Julia and Holt are madly in love. Sadly, Holt is about to head off to college, while Julia stays home in order to take care of her mother. “We’ll be together again soon,” they tell each other. They even promise to Skype (because, really, who writes letters anymore?) every day until they reunite for Columbus Day vacation.
Sure enough, six weeks goes by. As Julia is awoken from a nightmare, she receives a Skype call, thinking it is from Holt. When she answers, it’s not Holt. A strange woman, named Skye, demands to know where Holt is hiding and that if Julia sees him that “SHE is about to be released.”
Needless to say, Julia is afraid something’s happened to Holt. So what does she do? She packs her bags and races to Holt’s college campus. She even interrogates one of the science professors, Gabe, whose class Holt is scheduled to be in. Gabe tells her he doesn’t know where Holt is and roughly dismisses her concern.
Later that evening, Julia confronts Skye in person about Holt’s whereabouts. Skye agrees to help her track down Holt, as long as Julia promises to watch this clip on Skye’s computer. As Skye is loading the clip, Holt texts Julia and warns her not to watch the clip (not telling her that if you watch the clip, you will die in seven days). Skye attacks Julia, trying to make her watch the clip. Julia then locks herself in the bathroom. When she comes out, she discovers Skye has been killed.
Through a series of events, Holt and Julia reunite. Holt explains that he started working with a group, run by Gabe and Skye, to find a dimension between this world and the afterlife and to prove that there is life after death, that a person’s spirit doesn’t disappear, but rather finds another host. He goes on to explain why he didn’t want Julia to watch the clip. He says if he shares the clip, which he himself foolishly watched, he won’t die in seven days. So what does Julia do? SHE watches the clip when he’s not looking.
The clock is ticking…
About a year ago, I watched both “The Ring” and “The Ring Two.” What made the first two films memorable (probably more applicable to “The Ring”) was not the scares, so much as the intensity throughout each scene, interwoven between some elements of suspense and a somewhat complex, yet fascinating, sometimes disheartening story arc. When I heard, late last year, that they were making a sequel to “The Ring Two,” at first I was hesitant and slightly confused as to the need of a sequel. I was wondering what direction the film could possibly take that it hadn’t already taken in the first two films. Walking into the theater tonight, though skeptical, I walked in giving this film the benefit of the doubt, as cliché as it sounds.
Honestly, I have to admit that perhaps I had too much faith in “Rings.” Perhaps I’m being too firm here, but in truth, “Rings” doesn’t live up to its original, nor it’s sequel, “The Rings Two.” While some more information on Samara is provided, there is little here to be impressed with. The film tries too hard, at times, to be as sensational as the first. As a result, important categories in filmmkaing (character development, pacing, thrills) ended up suffering for it. The character development is rather thin (yes, Julia and Holt are likable, with some average performances from both of their characters), the pacing is a bit inconsistent, at times, and the scares that do occur (even though that’s not the point of “The Ring” films) are minimal. I will admit, though, that one positive element this film had was a genuine plot twist that occurs toward the end of the film. Still, it feels like “Rings” just tried too hard to be something it was not.
Violence: The evil entity, Samara, crawls out of the television and sucks the life out of several characters, the results of which leave horribly disfigured faces. In one scene, Samara causes a plane full of passengers to crash (we don’t see the actual crash). Whenever Samara is about to appear, characters receive nosebleeds, and pools of blood will flood out of the television. In another scene, a character is seen, hung upside down in his car after an accident. We see blood on his face as he tries to communicate, and an electric pole comes crashing onto to the car and electrocuting him. Two characters are seen being strangled. It is stated that one character was kidnapped and held captive for 30 years beneath a building (we later find out that this person was raped by the kidnapper). One character, in a vision, is seen being dragged toward a well by Samara. We also witness, in the clip, someone committing suicide as well as Samara being pushed into a well. One person falls down a flight of stairs.
Profanity: In two instances, the Lord’s name is taken in vain (Jesus and God), plus h*ll (1), a** (1), a**–hole (1), the s-word (1), and b*tch (1).
Sex/Nudity: There are a few scenes in which we see Julia and Holt waking up in bed together (Holt is half naked, and Julia wears a revealing shirt and underwear in one scene). In one of Julia’s visions, Holt is about to have sex with Julia, and we watch as he kisses her neck and down her body. Julia and Holt share several kisses. In a video chat, she begins a striptease which is cut short due to an interruption.
Other: In the clip, we see multiple disturbing images and creatures (centipedes, cockroaches, spiders), as well as the charred body of an infant. Some characters are seen smoking marijuana and drinking.
As mentioned before, Gabe, Skye and Holt, are trying to prove that there is life after death through means of one’s spirit (soul) finding another host (a variation of the Satanic fraud of reincarnation, with its transmigration of souls, but portrayed more as a demonic possession by a ghost). Further, Christianity is once again portrayed as wicked. ***SPOILER*** A Christian priest (probably Episcopalian) is revealed to be a terrible hypocrite and evil villain—a sexual abuser who held a choir member captive and raped her, and is willing to murder to cover up his evil. ***END SPOILER***
People in the film believe that the girl Samara must be destroyed because she was born evil and is the very essence of evil in its true form. While the Bible is clear that we are born into this world as sinners (see fall of man), it also indicates that no one is beyond saving or irredeemable. Rather, God wishes for all those who live in sin, to turn from their wickedness and find fellowship with the Lord. 1st John 1:7-9 states:
But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
“So watch yourselves! If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” —Luke 17:3-4
There is nothing redeeming or good about this film. Like the main protagonist, “Rings” is a film surrounded by darkness, demonic possession, topped off with heavy amounts of violence, sexual content, some profanity, and an attack on Christianity. Much like the video that the characters in the film are told not to watch, “Rings” is a movie that one does not need to watch. It’s best if you ignore this film, period.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity/Vulgarity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…comes up with a fair mystery and an admirably loopy finale featuring swarming cicadas… [3/5]
—Mike McCahill, The Guardian (UK)
—Chris Jancelewicz, Global News [Canada]
…it isn’t very good… much of the final shooting script isn’t really scary, and needs juicing up…
—Luke Y. Thompson, Forbes
…it lards in ridiculous elements and characters that send the story in all directions, none of them involving brain cells or any real sense of dread. …[1½/4]
—Peter Howell, Toronto Star Newspapers
…Often, “Rings” doesn't even seem to be trying to scare us, apart from a few feebly obligatory fake-outs. Until the predictable conclusion, Samara hardly matters… [1/4]
—Chuck Bowen, Slant
…an unscary time-killer hoping to pave the way for more creative sequels to come… doesn’t get to the point until its final 90 seconds or so…
—John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
…First you watch it. Then you shake your head. …[D+]
—Brian Formo, Collider
…this mess isn’t likely to reboot or revive the American franchise… [2/5]
—Kim Newman, Empire [UK]
…has no organic reason to exist… as unscary as it is out of date… it does make you wish that you could rewind those two hours, or maybe just erase them.
—Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…a dull horror rehash… inexcusably bad… you won’t die after watching “Rings,” but you might feel as if your time has been severely wasted. …[1/5]
—Edward Douglas, New York Daily News
…more wearying than frightening, “Rings” is a total non-starter… [1/5]
—Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com