Friday, June 2, 2017

Rings Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
When a radical college professor (Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory”) finds the mysterious video rumored to kill viewers seven days after watching, he enlists his students in a dangerous experiment to uncover the secrets behind the Samara legend. When the deadly video goes viral, they must figure out a way to break the curse and defeat Samara before her evil is unleashed upon the world. But, how do you stop her when she’s everywhere?  Rings also stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz (Summertime), Alex Roe (The 5th Wave), Aimee Teegarden (“Friday Night Lights”) and Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”).

Film (2 out of 5 stars)
Rings begins on an airplane with a guy freaking out. The girl next to him asks if he’s okay, but he’s hallucinating and when the plane hits turbulence, he runs to the bathroom. When he finally explains that he’s seen a video, the girl’s friend says she’s seen it too. All of a sudden, the video appears on all the screens on the plane. Cut to two years later in a vintage shop. There’s an old VCR and the person named Gabriel who is a professor at one of the local universities purchases it.  When he takes it home, he’s trying to clean it up when out pops Samara’s video that says “watch me.” This begins a research project for Gabriel and his students called “The Sevens.” 

In another town, Julia and Holt are high school sweethearts who are dealing with Holt going away to college. After a few weeks, however, Holt starts ignoring Julia’s calls and when Julia receives a video chat in the middle of the night from Holt’s computer, she answers only to see a young woman, Skye, telling her that “she’s coming for him.” Julia rushes to the campus to find Holt, and after talking with Gabriel, follows him to his lab. There she meets Skye, who takes her back to her apartment in order to get Julia to watch the video, but Hold texts Julia and tells her not to watch so Julia locks herself in the bathroom as Samara comes for Skye.

After Skye’s death, Julia and Holt begin trying to unravel the mystery of Samara. After Julia watches the video to save Holt, she, Holt, and Gabriel try to figure out the meaning of the video and break down everything Julia saw in it. When Julia describes what she saw, Gabriel realizes that the video has changed. This leads Julia and Holt to the small town of Sacrament Valley, where Julia recognizes many of the landmarks from the video. She and Holt go in search of Samara’s body, and find that Samara’s history began in this town. In the meantime, Gabriel is doing more research and finds answers to some of their questions. 

When he can’t get ahold of Julia and Holt, he rushes to the town, but is caught up in a car accident. On their way to a graveyard, Julia and Holt come across the accident, but before Gabriel can tell Julia what he learned, he dies. While visiting the local priest who is now blind, Burke, they start learning more and more about Evelyn, Samara’s mother. Julia visits the church she saw in the video and finds and underground room, where she finds remnants of someone living there. She realizes that this is where Evelyn was kept after she disappeared.  Julia returns to Burke’s home and talks to him about these findings. He attacks her and she escapes into the attic where she finds Samara’s bones. Holt arrives and the two of them take Samara’s body and burn the bones, in order to set her free.

Shortly after, they return home, and while Julia is in the shower, Holt notices text messages and a voicemail from Gabriel. He listens to them and rushes to his computer. As Holt works on translating the information Gabriel provided, Samara’s video begins playing and is emailed out to all of Julia’s contacts. Holt tries unplugging the computer and calls out for Julia, but she can’t respond as she’s dealing with Samara in another way as she gets out of the shower.

Rings wrapped up Samara’s story well. It was a bit predictable, though I wasn’t expecting the ending. That said, the ending was left open for another sequel, but the story should end with this one. There’s no reason to continue on with the story. By now, the story has been recycled enough and there really isn’t more you can do with it. How many times can someone watch a video and die?

The actors weren’t bad in their roles. Vincent D’Onofrio is good as Burke, the blind priest. He always plays creepy and he does it so well. Bonnie Morgan (Samara) was really good. I just saw her on another show talking about her contortionist abilities and she is excellent in this role. The main cast members, Alex Roe (Holt) and Matilda Lutz (Julia) are unknowns, but did well in their roles. They both have good careers ahead of them, if they choose their projects wisely.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Rings’ wide screen presentation is the best part about the movie and the disc. The picture was clear and super sharp; the coloring was spot on, as well. Much of the movie is dark, but none of it was dark enough to impede my viewing. Even with a slight glare on the television from the window, I was still able to see everyone and everything on the screen. 
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The English 7.1 dts-hd master audio was average. At the beginning of the movie, I heard a lot of pops and some static, but that went away as the movie progressed. The volume level was a little low, but it was even; once I found the proper level, it didn’t need any adusting. The movie is also available in French 5.1 Dolby digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby digital, and English audio description with subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. 
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
By now, it’s known that I am not normally a fan of the special features on the discs. However, I enjoyed these because they really talked about the story and the characters. 
  • Terror comes full circle (12:37) -- a chat with the cast and crew on how the story has come full circle from the original movie. 
  • Resurrecting the dead: bringing Samara back (9:19) -- chatting with Bonnie Morgan (Samara) and her makeup team about bringing Samara to life from her make up to the prosthetics, to her acting to the character herself. 
  • Scary scenes (6:35) -- the cast discusses their favorite scary scenes from the movie
  • Deleted/extended/alternate scenes (18:40) -- 14 extra scenes including an alternate ending. Available individually or in a play all option. 
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Rings is the worst of the trilogy, but it still had some entertaining moments. None of the actors will win any awards for their acting, but they still did a good enough job in bringing the characters to life. Even though there is a reveal at the end, it doesn’t ruin the movie for any future viewings. I will watch it again; however, it’s not a movie I would have purchased. I expect it to be on one of the movie channels, or the SyFy network in the near future. You aren’t missing anything if you wait.

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