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Film / Rings

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Rings is a 2017 horror film directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, and is the second sequel to The Ring, occurring 13 years after that film.

A young woman named Julia (Matilda Lutz) becomes worried about her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) when he explores a subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape that is said to kill the watcher 7 days after he/she has seen it. She sacrifices herself in order to save him, and in doing so she makes a horrifying discovery: there is a "movie within the movie" that no one has ever seen before…

The film was released on February 3, 2017 in the United States.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Rings contains examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Trailers make a big deal of Vincent D'Onofrio, but he shows up in only two scenes. Granted, the second one is the climax and he is essentially the film's main villain, but it's still very little compared to what his omnipresence in the trailers implied.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Unlike the previous films, this film does not focus on Rachel and Aidan Keller, but on two college-age students.
  • Arc Number: The number 7 shows up everywhere, most obviously, almost every time someone looks at a clock it says 7 or some derivative of it.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Thanks to modern technology of the 21st century, Samara has successfully digitalized her curse and uploads her cursed tape onto the Internet and sends it to everybody on Julia's contacts. Holt sees that Julia's friends are sending text messages asking questions about the video the same time the tape is still spreading.
  • Call-Back: To the 2005 short film of the same name, with the group of students watching and filming themselves as part of an experiment.
    • In the original American film, when Rachel mentions to Richard Morgan that she has watched the Tape, the latter very pointedly grabs a metal hook and wields it menacingly until she reveals that she has already made a copy —giving a very strong impression that he would have killed her then and there to stop the curse in its tracks. In this film, Samara's original father makes a regular, and successful, habit of killing her envoys to make sure her curse doesn't spread.
  • Continuity Snarl: The film directly contradicts several earlier aspects of the franchise's canon. For one, it seems to retcon The Ring Two despite taking elements from it, like Evelyn being Samara's mother.
  • Creepy Catholicism: The film has quite a bit of this, ranging from a creepy cathedral to disturbing crosses and pedophile priests.
  • Deadly Nosebleed: Tape watchers suffer nosebleeds moments before their time is up.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The film does quite a bait and switch near the end. After the entire movie setting up that Samara just wants revenge upon her abusive father, Samara reveals that no, she wants to kill boatloads of people too.
  • Doomed Appointment: Upon discovering what the marks on Julia's hand are, Gabriel rushes to meet her and Holt and give them the message. He has a fatal car accident on the way to the town, and dies before he can relay this information to them. It's heavily implied Samara had a hand in his demise.
  • Downer Ending: After Burke is killed once he regains his vision, Julia and Holt proceed to cremate Samara's body, freeing her soul. However, this makes everything worse, as Samara takes possession of Julia's body and sends the video to her and Holt's friends.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Gabriel is taken out by a car accident and a falling telephone pole completely unrelated to Samara. Maybe.
  • Due to the Dead: Gabriel believes that, according to Julia's visions, cremating Samara's remains will set her soul free. It does, and now she's free to possess her "savior" and spread her curse to the Internet.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Shades of a "both sides suck" equivalence permeate the conflict between Samara and her father. Samara's a mass-murdering demonic entity and her father is a rapist pedophile, yet both seem fixed on stopping one another.
  • The Extremist Was Right: As it turns out, brutality is the best method of combating Samara. Galen, Samara's father, managed to keep her evil contained for decades by brutally murdering anyone who came to try to burn her body and free her spirit. Sadly, the protagonist ends up freeing her.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Julia's empathy towards Samara and Evelyn's suffering is repaid in the only way Samara knows how.
  • Foreshadowing: Gabriel's speech about souls and bodies ends up being a lot more relevant than expected. The random images flashing in the Samara tapes also foreshadow moments of the climax.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half focuses on explaining and detailing Samara's M.O, particularly in the Internet age and how she interacts with new technologies. The second half puts the protagonists in the middle of nowhere, away from the Internet, conducting a investigation on Samara's past.
  • Hallucinations: Once again, they lead the plucky investigative protagonist to clues that will help her solve the mysteries behind Samara's curse, complete with plenty of helpful hallucinations and instances of Did You See That Too?.
  • High-Voltage Death: How Gabriel dies when a telephone pole falls into the pond where he's lying in after his car crash.
  • History Repeats: In the original film, Rachel was warned by Samara's adopted father about the dangers of spreading stories like these recklessly, "like sickness"; she unwittingly released Samara's curse to the world beyond Cabin 12. Julia was likewise warned by Samara's biological father, and was manipulated into releasing Samara on the Internet, and ended up possessed by her spirit for her troubles.
  • Hope Spot: When Julie and Holt discover Gabriel pinned under his car but still alive, it looks like he's survived an attempt by Samara and will be able to tell Julie what the markings on her hand means. But then a loose telephone pole falls on Gabriel's car, electrocuting him to death.
  • Idiot Ball: Gabriel leaves Julia and Holt a voicemail message to say that her mark is braille, but he can't say the very important part that the braille spells out 'rebirth'? It would have only taken a few seconds - he could have even scribbled it in his notebook - but instead he immediately hangs up, and jumps in his car to drive out to his death so he can reveal this info in person.
    • It's OK, Holt doesn't check his messages for days anyway, even in life or death situations.
  • Instant Web Hit: This happens to Julia's copy of Samara's video.
  • Jump Scare: There are quite a few of these in the trailers.
  • Logo Joke: The Paramount stars glitch into the ring and then transitions from an airplane seat monitor to the movie proper.
  • Mr. Exposition: Gabriel's central purpose is revealing information about Samara.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Julia has a running tendency to verbally explain, at length, what the audience has been shown.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Most trailers (such as the two linked above) make it seem like the core conflict will be about the protagonist trying to stop the Body Horror Samara is inflicting upon her and avoid her "rebirth" with the help of Vincent D'Onofrio's blind character. This is not the case in the actual film. Or rather, the Body Horror happens in the very final scene, the "rebirth" concept is only revealed and addressed in that scene, it happens too fast for anyone to stop it, and Vincent D'Onofrio only shows up at the very end to turn out to be the main villain.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Julia's actions end up directly causing Samara's rebirth and probably damning most of her friends to horrible deaths.
  • Pedophile Priest: Would you expect anything other than a Catholic Priest pedophile in a horror film? In this case, it's Samara's father.
  • Psychic Powers: Samara's abilities are once again at the root of the curse. Once she's reborn, she can directly manipulate Julia's computer to spread her influence far and wide.
  • Remembered Too Late: Holt doesn't remember to check his phone messages until it's far, far too late to stop Samara's rebirth.
  • Retcon: In the second movie, it was established that Samara's "father" was an otherworldly oceanic entity that was the source of her powers. Rings retcons this so that she's the Child by Rape of a pedophilic priest, and her mother was so traumatized she made up the story of the entity to cope.
  • Sequel Escalation: The film follows the same structure as The Ring, but on a larger scale, from the initial intro to a seventh-day victim to the finale which reveals that "releasing" Samara is always a mistake.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Johnny Galecki's character, Professor Gabriel, doesn't show up in most of the trailers despite being a fairly important supporting character. This in contrast to Vincent D'Onofrio, who shows up in every trailer despite his little screentime.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe. In the original film and its sequel, Samara's video was contained in a videotape. In this film, it jumps media to digital files, and the "copy the video" condition apparently demands the viewer to copy the file itself and show the copy. The fact that the copy Julia watched has a different file size from its previous version is very significant.
  • Thrown Down a Well: No, not Samara. Evelyn was imprisoned in a hidden chamber beneath the church, accessible only via a chain ladder; despite the perfunctory niceties of the cell (a loveseat, a fridge, a TV, a dresser, a table, and even a caged bird) she was routinely chained to the bed to prevent her from escaping.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Every trailer and TV spot gives away the twist at the end of the film and most of them strongly hint at the identity of the main villain.
  • Tragic Villain: Samara gets this treatment as the movie shows (once again) her sad past, though the ending clarifies that she's a psychopath.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Professor Gabriel, first by finding the videotape and then involving several of his students in a project based on the material on the tape.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Samara has been "marking" viewers of the tape (at least a dozen, by Galen's account) so they would be inspired to try to solve the mystery behind her. Julia is the first one to succeed, and the one that fulfilled Samara's true purposes: to be released upon the world at large.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Every time Julia stumbles upon something relating to the images on the tape, the movie will flash back to said images, even if the audience saw those images within the last five minutes.
  • Younger and Hipper: Whilst previous movies of the American franchise and most of the Japanese ones focus on older characters and tend to have a focus on parent-child relationships, this one is about two college-age students.