Rings – 2017

Director F. Javier Gutiérrez
Screenplay David Loucka, Jacob Aaron Estes, Akiva Goldsman
Starring  Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden

For some reason, I have longed to see Johnny Galecki get what’s coming to him. I never liked him, not even back when he was Sara Gilbert’s boyfriend on Roseanne. And no, I never have cared one way or another about that nerd show. With him on it, not a chance. It’s my cross to bear in my trial of live, and I bear it bravely.

Upon finding out he was in the newest version of The Ring, I figured that it only means he will die some sort of gruesome death. I can support this notion, especially when he carries the pretense of an intellectual professor. No way, Johnny. You’re a dead man once you pop in that tape.

The images change medium with Rings. Now instead of video tape we have digital files on a computer screen. Of course, this changes for one character to a series of subliminal flashes that occur like some sort of scavenger hunt for clues. This is not very fun after the first few because it is headache inducing and it leaves no room for mystery.

Don’t know what is going on? Wait 5 minutes.  Or maybe 3.

There is no shortage of people waiting to tell you the story behind the girl, Samara. That we learned about her in the previous American sequel is of no real consequence. Whether it is another angle or a totally contradictory story, we get enough people telling us about her, it’d be a surprise if someone didn’t know about her.

The makers took a page and a story line out of the far superior (and mysterious) It Follows, and creates a group called “The Sevens” who spread the video to others, giving them some sort of gap, pushing death off until those “tails” expire.  It could work as some remarkable pyramid scheme if they just broadcast it. Oh, wait…

Unlike other series that just repeat the routine of a faceless mystery killer, the people behind this story can’t hold the bountiful mystery behind the images. Like a kid who wants to open their Christmas presents on Halloween, there is an endless procession of demystifying moments until there is nothing left to fear. And strangely, nothing to feel sorry about except for the fact that you came back for more.

I would like to say there are some interesting camera angles or something. There is one that literally happens with the opening image. The rest is so choppy its hard to give a second look.

You get a giant dose of self-reference as you hear a grizzled and blind D’Onofrio say “The event, just took it out of him.” It says something strange about his career that he is literally the only name actor to take this film. Every one else was paid to scale, no doubt. He needs more characters like Malkovich and less like Lance Henriksen. And I love poor Lance Henriksen.

This movie might not even be good enough for completists. It’s only for those who have gone so far as to watch every variation of the movie, foreign and domestic. It is lighter than air.  Kind of like moths behind visqueen.

(* out of *****)

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