The franchise revival of The Ring is in full force, with Rings making its final push before it’s unleashed in U.S. theaters on February 3. It’s been 15 years since the original The Ring came out, so Paramount Pictures is getting creative with its marketing push for the first sequel since 2005’s The Ring Two.
There are, of course, the traditional trailers and posters that are sure to get under your skin ahead of Rings’ release. But Paramount is also using social media and digital technology to its advantage in promoting the movie. They used an actress and hidden cameras to prank customers looking at TVs in a recent video. Now, they’re using virtual reality.
A new 360 experience video on the U.K. Paramount Pictures YouTube channel places the viewer in a dark, creepy room – just the kind that you’d expect Rings’ demonic figure Samara to lurk. The 90-second video shows Samara popping out in various locations around the room for some unexpected scares. You can watch the video above, but it is certainly best experienced when viewed with a VR headset.
Set 13 years after the original, Rings follows the story of a woman named Julia (Matilda Lutz) who discovers that her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) is exploring the urban legend of the same mysterious killer video that apparently contains a “video within the video.” It’s possible that the room seen in the new Rings 360 video is similar to a location in the actual movie.
The identity of the Ring franchise is built around dread and atmosphere, which makes a 360 video the perfect kind of marketing tool for a movie of its ilk. The movies’ appeal lies in the theme of the fright associated with demonic presences invading the real world, so it’s not surprising to see people so scared by a prank involving a girl coming through a TV – or a VR experience that traps you in a room with her.
Of course, Rings still has to be a good movie in its own right. Paramount has delivered a strong marketing campaign and made good use of tech and the Internet to promote the sequel, but it remains to be seen if the movie itself lives up to what fans want to see – especially after the critical letdown of The Ring Two. Still, if Rings is made as well as the 360 video or its other marketing materials, it has a chance to be on par with the seminal original.