Rings follows a young woman who travels to a college town in search of her missing boyfriend. She comes across a secret group of people run by a professor that is centered around the infamous Samara tape. As she uncovers a supernatural conspiracy, she has to save herself and the ones she loves from the rage of Samara.
It's hard to beat a vengeful spirit that has rules that appear to be rewritten every time one rule is bypassed. Each film in this franchise seems to retcon every previous film with every new revelation on the nature and history of Samara. Each one is more like a remake than a sequel simply by defeating the purpose of "accomplishing" anything. This increasingly irritating pattern is no more prevalent than in this sequel that started out with so much promise.
At first we get a glimpse of a world harassed by Samara (who, for some reason, has to follow certain simple rules, but has the power to kill a ton of people all over the world). This idea of a post-apocalyptic world overrun with Samara tapes seems interesting, but all we get is a glimpse at this reality. Instead, a familiar theme sprouts right back up and we're in the middle of Ring deja vu.
Except this time, wait, we get a cult-like group of college coeds who are somehow partying over some kind of sadistic blend of hipster worship of the Samara tape. A "social experiment gone wrong" could have been a unique, if awkward, take, but this also ends up being a relatively small portion of the film, as it quickly shifts back to the lane we've grown accustomed to.
This is just another Ring movie, for a franchise that never should have been a franchise. The same scares, the same cookie-cutter characters, the same mystery being solved in different ways with twists that don't quite add up with what we've seen before. The motivations of a vengeful spirit are moot when the motivations can't be quelled by any reasonable means. I just don't get it.
I was a fan of the first film, as I was a fan of other American remakes in a similar ilk. The originals are also good, but I see the benefit in horror of getting subtitles off the screen. But after that, its story has been told. And while, perhaps you can find wriggle room for a sequel, that just isn't the case here, at least in these repetitive incarnations. Though Aliens will forever be the pinnacle to the contrary, simply making your horror film plural in a sequel does not make it better.
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 5/10