Sooo, this horror movie made me feel more weary than thrilled. I guess this is due to me over-focusing on the plot details instead of just soaking in the horror and mystery of it. Rings (2017) being an adaptation of Sadako, I was expecting a lot more scenes that would keep me feeling hyper-alert and bound tight in anticipation, but such were far and few between and altogether not satisfying enough. The reason why I like watching horror movies is due to their ability to keep me focused and hooked onto the sheer morbid sense of being horrified by the entity and the atrocities that it commits. But this movie didn’t really make me feel that. The whole time I was watching, it felt like the movie was holding back, not delivering the story it promised.
There were one or two instances when I felt the chill and the anxiety for the characters but other than that, the movie was rather mild on the horror scale.
The movie was clichéd from the start: Victim #1 dies on a plane after seeing a bunch of flies. I get that flies are signs of decay and link to the idea of the supernatural and how they make us uncomfortable, but this trope has been wayyyy overused. Unless horror movies are an absolute no-no for you, I am sure you would have seen similar scenes of flies buzzing in and out of people’s mouths before they or someone else dies. Nothing new there.
As for the plot, it centers around a mystery (of course) but it fails to drop enough hints to keep the viewers on their toes and connecting the dots with each new revelation. For a large part of the movie, the main narrative was less interesting to me than learning the identity of the priest who tortured the mother of child ghost. And this question was too quickly answered… holding the suspense a tad longer would have been great.
A point I did like about this movie is the portrayal of a really brave female lead. The female lead character (Julia) could feel the pain and sufferings of the mistreated child ghost deeply and was not afraid of her, unlike the other characters (including her family and friends). This made me sympathize with the child ghost (Samara) and want to understand her too. However, little does Julia know that she isn’t the chosen one and Samara isn’t all that innocent. Instead, Julia’s courage is manipulated by Samara to cause more people to die. This, I feel, emphasizes greatly on the frighteningly intelligent malevolence of the child ghost and kicks the horror up a notch. But then again, I’m sure to have watched other movies that play along a similar line too, like how things are not what they seem and how human judgment can go horribly wrong. Disney’s Snow White comes to mind.
Overall, the movie wasn’t able to draw me into the story or get me to look over my shoulder whenever I feel like it’s got a little too quiet. It was just me feeling sad for Samara’s mother and wanting to punch the priest, but oh well. Rings was meh and should have thrown in more sound effects and horrifying, impactful visuals just to up the ante a little. If this movie were a Print-to-Screen production, I’d probably have liked the book better.