Horror sequel Rings savaged by critics

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Might want to crawl back into that screen, Samara… (credit: Paramount)

Maybe that cursed videotape should have just stayed lost this time around.

‘Rings,’ the long-delayed revival of horror franchise ‘The Ring’ (the US remake of Japanese horror series ‘Ringu’), has been met with a very harsh critical response, currently sitting at an abysmal 5% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Rating the film a 4/10, Joshua Starnes of Coming Soon likens the film to “a copy of a copy of a copy of an old video tape; garbled, faded and impossible to watch.”

Other reviews avoided such franchise-specific analogies in favour of a more direct approach, notably Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, whose 0/4 review flatly declares, “if crap movies carried penalties for inflicting torture on audiences, then Rings would merit a death sentence,” and warns the film “may kill you of boredom.”

A few reviews are marginally more positive, notably AA Dowd of AV Club, who gives ‘Rings’ a C rating and notes that the film “[updates] its watch-and-die gimmick to accommodate contemporary viewing methods” and concedes, “it’s not a terrible set-up. But ‘Rings’ doesn’t end up doing much with its fresh ideas.”

About the only truly positive write-up comes from Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times, who says “fans of the franchise should be pleased.”

Credit: Paramount

After the success of Hideo Nakata’s original 1998 movie ‘Ringu,’ Gore Verbinski’s English language remake ‘The Ring’ followed in 2002, with Naomi Watts in the lead. It proved a huge success, earning almost $250 million at the worldwide box office and inspiring Hollywood to remake a slew of other contemporary Eastern horror hits (‘The Grudge,’ ‘The Eye,’ and ‘Dark Water’ to name but a few).

Sequel ‘The Ring 2,’ directed by series originator Hideo Nakata, followed in 2005, but then the franchise lay dormant for a decade until ‘Rings’ began production in early 2015, with F. Javier Gutiérrez directing.

Originally set for release in November 2015, ‘Rings’ was rescheduled twice before finally opening this weekend – and it seems we can now make an educated guess as to why these delays occurred.

For those still interested, ‘Rings’ is in cinemas now.

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