It’s been more than ten years since we’ve seen Samara (Bonnie Morgan), the creepy girl that will kill anyone who watches the videotape that she inhabits. We’ve moved into the world of YouTube and social media, when a video can be copied and shared worldwide in a matter of moments. What kind of destruction would Samara cause if she was unleashed in the modern world of instant shares?
An interesting and timely question, to be sure. Unfortunately, it’s barely even touched upon in “Rings,” the newest sequel to a movie no one really cared very much about in the first place.
“Rings” finds us on a college campus in Washington, where charismatic professor Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) happens upon a copy of the Samara video and uses it to inspire a legion of student-followers to academically explore the nature of life after death. Holt (Alex Roe) is a new student who has been swept up in the Samara study and, as a result, is marked for death. He unwittingly drags in his girlfriend Julia (Matilda Lutz), who watches the video and herself becomes targeted by Samara. But strangely, Julia’s version of the Samara video is different from everyone else’s, and Julia becomes obsessed with unlocking the reason why. She and Holt take a road trip to the small town where Samara lived and died in an attempt to lift the curse and break the cycle.
There’s an interesting story in “Rings,” but before we get there we have to sit through a full hour of poorly-acted melodrama. Sure, we see a couple of effects-driven sequences where Samara kills her victims, but nothing worth watching actually happens until Julia and Holt arrive in Samara’s home town. There, the couple meets mysterious blind man Burke (Vincent D’Onofrio) and several other townspeople who clearly want to keep Samara’s memory in the past and have something to hide. That’s where the meat of the movie lies, when we learn more about Samara’s tragic past and what drives her spirit.
When you have to suffer through a full hour of movie before it starts to actually get compelling it’s a failure in my book. But still, it’s not a complete disaster.
Louisa was unavailable for review.