One of the rules of horror films are that characters should never do what they’re told. It can be assured that if someone is warned not to do something, they’ll do it. The temptation to slightly mis-behave is something we all carry over from childhood. The consequences for doing the wrong thing were less harsh than what occurs in scary movies. ‘Rings’ shows just how bad ignoring warnings can be. The third in the American remakes of the original Japanese series, it almost conjures scares for those always caught being bad.

Julia (Matilda Lutz) is worried when her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) becomes enraptured by a horrific urban legend. Delving into the myth of a sinister video where the watcher dies 7 days after viewing it, Holt’s actions have dire repercussions. Not heeding the warnings given about the video, Julia aims to save her boyfriend from a dark fate. Making a shocking discovery of another movie within the video, Julia’s life is increasingly perilous as death becomes her constant companion.

‘Rings’ relies heavily on the horror movie phenomenon known as ‘jump scares’. When something is about to happen or a shocking incident is occurring, a very loud noise usually joins it. This is lazy film-making, adhering to the genre clichés without taking time to generate genuine scares. ‘Rings’ is typical of recent horror films in having little flair or imagination. It isn’t completely terrible, as the new additions to the Rings mythology are intriguing. The way they’re done is disappointing as with so much money available, such a bland product is created.

Any horror film thrives or dies by its scares. ‘Rings’ has a modicum of cheap thrills to accompany its very bombastic soundtrack. But once these shocks are over, another one arrives to quickly negate any impact. ‘Rings’ won’t be a worthy addition in the annuls of horror like ‘The Exorcist’ or ‘Halloween’ as it refuses to do anything original by living off the infamy of its predecessors. The actors do little but react to the pyrotechnics with some woeful performances reflecting the low-grade talent involved.

There have been worse horror movies than ‘Rings’, although this is as bland as many others. The spectre of another sequel is the only truly horrific moment which would scare the shackles of Death as it crawls through eternities’ door.

Rating out of 10: 4

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