Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 2017. Macari/Edelstein, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Vertigo Entertainment, Waddleish Claretrap. Story by David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Screenplay by David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman, based on the novel The Ring by Koji Suzuki. Cinematography by Sharone Meir. Produced by Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes. Music by Matthew Margeson. Production Design by Kevin Kavanaugh. Costume Design by Christopher Peterson. Film Editing by Steve Mirkovich, Jeremiah O’Driscoll.
A young man disappears soon after leaving for college and causes great concern for his girlfriend, who is sure that something bad has happened and he hasn’t just forgotten about her. Traveling to his campus, she walks into a strange cult experiment led by a physics professor (Johnny Galecki) who has students watching that grainy little video of the previous two films but preventing their reaping the punishment (you die seven days after watching it) by giving them a “tail” (you copy it and someone else watches it and you’re fine). Our heroine accidentally watches the film too, which means she has seven days to save her own hide but–wait a minute–she’s getting visions that are giving her clues, and perhaps she is linked to the story at the heart of this mystery. What should be a fun Nancy Drew mystery with a horror film upgrade is a silly collection of loud sound cues and overwrought dialogue that is completely disrespectful to the juicy situations that it puts characters in: terror aboard a doomed airplane, flashlights in church cellars in the middle of the night, a control centre covered in monitors counting down the impending deaths of all who have watched the tape, these are all left hanging to dry in favour of the least interesting aspect of the old Restless Ghost Because Of The Past narrative, including a bland villain. The plot unearthed by the protagonist actually feels like it has very little to do with the previous films, more like it was borrowed from a different one altogether, and removes all fear previously inspired by the girl who climbs out your television screen with the Fiona Apple hair.