If you thought the decline of VHS was enough to save you from Samara, the murderous TV-bound adolescent in the Ring series, think again: Someone uploaded her to YouTube.
Paramount just released the first trailer for Rings, the latest film in the improbable horror series about an eerie adolescent entity who first haunts, then kills people seven days after they watch a grotesque video. With the new Blair Witch movie it seems this fall will see a resurgence of late-’90s/early-aughts horror icons.
Considering the Naomi Watts-starring 2002 American original — itself spawned from a Japanese multimedia series adapted from a 1991 novel by author Koji Suzuki — was about watching a VHS tape of death, Rings needed to update the technology or else risk obsolescence. Nobody really watches VHS tapes anymore, so it seems the way to actually kill Samara was to just wait for DVDs and Blu-rays to become a thing. But, no, some doomed soul uploaded the infamous Ring tape to YouTube so Samara could terrorize a new batch of unsuspecting victims.
The movie takes the Alien-into-Aliens approach and just pluralizes the title. But there was already a 16-minute short film in the series directed by Jonathan Liebesman in 2005 called Rings that linked the first and second movies. Maybe Liebesman’s entry isn’t official Samara canon anymore?
Watch Liebesman’s short here:
But obsolescence persists, as the feature film Rings seems to take the lazy, teens-in-trouble approach that so many horror movies do – instead of extending the creeping dread that made director Gore Verbinski’s American original so scary.
Even worse, the trailer seems to basically give away the entire movie. First, there’s an unrelated victim in the film’s opening. Then, a new victim haphazardly watches the video, before enduring absurd macabre events. The protagonist meets a weird old dude (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) who tells her everything about Samara, and then dies. Oh, also, Samara now flies coach.
The throwback creepiness of inheriting a grimy, beat-up old VHS tape and having that be the harbinger of your death was an added bonus. Clicking on a YouTube video doesn’t have the same kind of random terror. Hopefully the movie has more scares and isn’t so self-serious. The official synopsis sure makes it seem that way:
A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a movie within the movie that no one has ever seen before…
Rings, directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, hits theaters on October 28.