Not even your gagging reflex at watching the heroine pull out hair from her mouth turns into horror in this most banal horror film sequel of the superb original Japanese film called Ringu (and the awesome remake called ‘Ring’ in 2002). The video-tape of the original film is now shared file, and the premise is the same: watch it and die within a week. And the week is so long, audiences will die of boredom first.
Yes, the film has all the makings of a scary film: jump scare shots, ugly entity (you die when you see her), the entity creeping out of the TV, the need to share the video to save yourself and put people in danger, the reminder that mommy dumped her own child into a well, the growing powers of the entity… But despite some ‘horror movie ambience’ and screams and saucer eyes the movie is tiresome.
The college kids look too grown up to be freshmen college kids. Now Bollywood viewers may be used to watching 45 year olds play college kids in the 70s and 80s cinema, but today, it’s a laughable thing. So Holt and Julia, the grown up Freshmen (Alex Roe and Matilda Rutz) reach out to their professor for help. John Galecki of The Big Bang Theory plays the role of the professor who is conducting all sorts of experiments to figure out the presence of a soul… You are so bored of the ‘experiment’ routine that you begin to count days. Aren’t you supposed to die within seven days of watching the video? How come the unkempt professor is still alive?
When you begin to root for the death of the hero and the heroine and their mentor, you know something is wrong. And no matter how creepy the evil entity Samara is, you get bored of the hair on her face routine and wish there was a spare hairclip which you could throw at the screen. There are a couple of interesting ideas in the movie which are never touched upon even though everyone is running around like headless chickens looking for clues to solve the mystery of the evil. The idea of braille imprinted on the heroine’s hand is cool, but why braille? Why not simply carve out like the Dolores Umbridge magic quill in Harry Potter? Vincent D’Onofrio has a cool role, but he comes in too late for the audience to care. Why the bones are buried and how evil can be contained are reasons that are too convoluted for anyone, and laughable, almost.
The only thing admirable is that the franchise gets away from old technology (of recording and sharing a video-tape) to modern (spreading evil through file sharing) and also manages to add on a bit of mystery-solving to plain horror. But it wants to hang on to the established mythology, and this is where it fails: the audience is expecting the characters who have watched the film to die after seven days, and here they seem to go on and on, living. It’s a vanilla horror movie. Best left at the back of the freezer for when there’s nothing left to eat…
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)