Rings – Blu-ray Review

Rings - Poster #1 Header

Rings hits stores on May 2nd.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Samara scare American audiences with her deadly VHS tape. Fifteen years to be exact. Since then, technology has progressed and the next Ring installment decided to progress with it. Unfortunately, Rings is more of a franchise downgrade rather than an upgrade.

Writers David Loucka, Jacob Aaron Estes, and Akiva Goldsman put together a promising premise for the new film. The college background set up early in the film could’ve become the setting for a slasher film. An opportunity was there to combine genres, cause total mayhem, and set a high body count. Then the writers made the decision to rehash the mystery plot of The Ring. Ultimately, this is where the entire film falls apart. Once Julia goes on her journey to find Samara’s real parents, things get really boring. We’ve seen this plotline before in The Ring and seeing it again isn’t as interesting.

Director F. Javier Gutiérrez and cinematographer Sharone Meir are able to capture an eerie tone to the film. On the other hand, the film lacks any scares and thrills to interest even the hardened horror fan. Even the jump scares fell flat on its face. In reality, the film is full of exposition told at a brutally slow pace.

The performances don’t seem to help the film much either. Most of it is due to the script but the performances are a bit uninspiring too. Matilda Lutz delivers a cardboard cutout performance that lacks the panic to sell audiences to the film. To put it another way, how can we, as an audience, be afraid of this world if the main character isn’t? In addition, Alex Roe isn’t given much to do as Julia’s boyfriend, Holt. Like Lutz, he gives a lackluster performance to his thinly defined character. Together the pair doesn’t have the charisma for audiences to care about their characters. The supporting work by Johnny Galecki and Vincent D’Onofrio are solid, however.

Overall, Rings is a disappointing film that had the potential to be so much more. It’s also unclear whether the filmmakers wanted Rings to be a reboot, sequel, or both. It’s that lack of focus that eventually doomed the film. Not only that but Rings isn’t scary at all and it’s boring. Two big no-no’s when you’re creating a horror film.

Movie Rating: 1/5 atoms

Rings - Alex Roe and Matilda Anna Ingrid Roe

Rings is presented in a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encoded video with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The film looks fantastic on Blu-ray. The brightness is dazzling and never blooms. Likewise, the black levels are deep and never crushed. The amazing how excellent the contrast and details are for this film. Each texture and facial feature are crystal clear throughout the entire film. The film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to a wide array of color choices. Regardless, the colors are seemingly accurate to the film’s style. Skin tones appear accurate under Gutiérrez’s visual stylings as well. Overall, this is a terrific release from Paramount.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

AudioRings - Bonnie Morgan

Rings is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround audio track. Horror films tend to have great soundtracks and Rings is no exception. The soundtrack is rich with subtle horror-friendly sound effects that saturate the entire sound stage. The surround and rear surround channels clearly render the effects within the sound stage. The dialogue is clear and well-prioritized in the center channel. The track isn’t shy about using the subwoofer to add some depth to the film either. Overall, this is a great audio presentation.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features
Rings - Johnny Galecki

Rings’ Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Terror Comes Full Circle
  • Resurrecting the Dead: Bringing Samara Back
  • Scary Scenes
  • Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of special features in this release. Much like the film itself, the special features aren’t very interesting to watch. A majority of it looks back to the history of the franchise—specifically The Ring. In addition, the deleted scenes don’t meaningfully add anything to the film.

Special Features Rating: 2/5 atoms

Overall, Rings is a downgrade for the franchise. The potential was there for something fun and totally different. Sadly, the end result was something that was dull and boring. Nevertheless, the video and audio presentations are great. But just like the film, the special features are boring.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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