There’s a portion of Rings where the film is stupid enough that it might at least be fun. The movie takes three different beginnings to finally get going, but once it does, it introduces us to ridiculousness that, if embraced, could have overcome the multitude of narrative faults at play. Unfortunately, it quickly throws all that away and becomes something far worse than just bad: boring. And also bad. But so, so boring.
I don’t think I have to do more than explain the premise for you to get an idea what I’m talking about. The film focuses on good girl Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) and her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe). Holt is about to go off to college, but has to leave Julia behind because (I think) she has a sick mom to take care of or something. Also his name is Holt. The two Skype every night, but she gets the sense that something is taking his attention from her, as any person in her situation would because he's off to college while she's stuck at home. Damn right something is taking his attention from her.
In this case, it’s not hot girls however, but a professor, Gabriel (Johnny Galecki), who has developed some kind of asinine group study around the Ring video. He wants people to watch it and then safely pass it to others so he can prove the existence of souls or something. Keep in mind he’s played by Johnny Galecki, so you're probably not supposed to take him seriously as a grizzled professor.
Julia feels her man slipping away, and instead of letting it go, she tracks his ass down, leaving crazy texts "Did you drop your cell phone!?", getting into his dorm room, and busting into one of his classes on a Terminator-level search for her beau. Like The Birds’ Tippi Hedren, she’s a major red flag girl in a movie that has no real time to comment on such things.
Eventually, she tracks the professor down to his Ring pad, which looks like some kind of crazy tech opium den. From here, she finds a person who might know where her boy is: “All you have to do is watch a video first.” She refuses to watch the video, but she does find Holt, except Holt has seen the video, so she decides to watch it anyway to save him. Now she has seven days to not die. If she only knew how much he cheated on her.
This is where everything falls apart. I was mildly into her stalky ways and the dweeb campus Ring-swapping culture stuff. It’s almost on that Happening level. But once Julia sees the video, her experience proves to be different than normal because the script thinks she’s “special”. This means they have to go back to Samara-village to solve another Ring mystery about her origin. And even though this brings them across the doorstep of a blind Vincent D’Onofrio, it still manages to be a dull disaster.
As a horror villain, Samara is extremely limited. There’s an iconic look to her, but she only really has one move. The first film worked because you didn’t know anything about how she operated until the very end (assuming you hadn't seen the Japanese original). Now we know she pops out of TVs, and instead of going any further with that, they just rehash, this time focusing on setting Samara free by locating her bones and burning them. There’s an opening where she takes down a plane… somehow. We don’t actually get to see it, I suspect because no one could figure out what that might look like. When this movie ends, you'll have a million irritating questions about how Samara functions, all will be more thought out than Rings was.
That pretty much sums the whole thing up. There is nothing new here, and worse, it doesn’t even do a good job covering what’s been done before. The one or two interesting ideas proposed early on are abandoned immediately. Unless you are related to someone involved in the film, I can’t think of a single reason why anyone should suffer sitting through it.