Movies

Rings: Circle of strife

A sterile effort that’s brought out the worst of the franchise

There's a VHS tape. Labelled with a scrawl that reads, ‘watch me’. And for the sake of its The Ring franchise, Hollywood has been making sure naive white people on screen have been dutifully carrying out that task, and in the process, as a Blues song says, going where they shouldn't go, being who they shouldn't be and doing what they shouldn't do.

It was alright when the first of its kind was milked from Japan but the latest spawn from Koji Suzuki’s novel, Rings, offers nearly no reason to even miss a heartbeat.

There's a young couple, Holt (a perennially clueless and useless Alex Roe) and Julia (a slightly more clued in Matilda Lutz). There’s a badass professor, Gabriel (Johnny Galecki, at last, taking a break from experimental physics to focus on biology … and, of course, the supernatural). Holt, on account of being a clueless student, is sucked into Gabriel’s experiments with the human soul. Julia, predictably, pulls herself in too. We really do not know what she specialises in, but going by the movie, I would endorse her on LinkedIn for effective communication with the dead, creative visualisation and reconstruction, quick interpretation of pagan/christian symbols (please take a backseat, Prof. Robert Langdon) and giving the slip to creepy, blind men. And passable expressions of being horrified.

Rings, otherwise, fails to exude any semblance of a claustrophobic atmosphere or indeed, of a convincing horror movie. Matthew Margeson’s score, instead of heightening our senses and bringing us to the edge of our seats, seems to have buried itself underneath the mediocre screenplay that hardly scratches the surface of our fears.

Nevertheless, the characters relentlessly pursue the unknown based on clues from Julia’s visions. The audience meanwhile are left searching for an element of surprise.

In Rings, there’s a recurring pattern with the number seven: days left for a victim to live after watching the video, the time of day when the spirit comes alive and in all fairness, the number of days this film should be allowed to run in theatres.  

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 6:43:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Rings-Circle-of-strife/article17284202.ece

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