The Japanese horror classic Ringu and its Hollywood remake The Ring in many ways set the mold for supernatural horror in the 21st Century. Now, 15 years after The Ring introduced us to the ghostly Samara, Paramount Pictures is giving the franchise an apparent soft reboot with Rings, which hits theaters this week. Set 13 years after the events of the original, Rings promises to take audiences further into the dark mystery of Samara by revealing “a movie within the movie that no one has ever seen before.”
Just what this “movie within the movie” might be is anybody’s guess. The secrets of Rings will be revealed when the oft-delayed film finally hits theaters, but in the meantime audiences can get a nice healthy taste of the horror to come via an extended look at the movie’s pulse-pounding opening scene.
Paramount has now given horror fans a long preview of Rings by releasing the first three minutes online. In the extended clip, a very nervous airline passenger tells the girl across the aisle about the creepy video cassette he watched and the voice telling him over the phone that he would die in seven days. And guess what? Today is the seventh day. The young lady thinks the guy is just a head-case but her friend in the next seat isn’t so sure. As staff attempt to calm down the disruptive passenger, it soon becomes clear that something serious is amiss on the flight. The freaked out passenger didn’t just doom himself when he watched the cursed videotape. The clip ends with Samara’s well appearing on all the seat-back screens and Samara herself crawling out of one of the cockpit monitors. She’s back and more vengeful than ever.
The clip serves as a quick reminder about the rules of The Ring: watch the video cassette, hear the ghostly voice, die in seven days. Hardcore horror freaks will note that the scene also serves as a tip of the hat to the classic Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” This time though, the supernatural horror isn’t just hanging out on the wing of the plane, causing William Shatner to have a nervous breakdown.
In its day, The Ring was a wickedly effective horror film that mixed mystery and supernatural elements in a very satisfying and efficient way. The movie was well-directed by a pre-Pirates of the Caribbean Gore Verbinski, and featured a strong lead performance by future Oscar nominee Naomi Watts. In other words, Rings has a pretty high bar to reach if it hopes to live up to its predecessor. The only direct sequel to the original Ring, The Ring Two, disappointed critics and fans alike with its weak story.
Going by the first three minutes of Rings, the film is definitely trying to up the ante on Samara and the scope of her powers. We’ll see if writers Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsmith and director F. Javier Gutierrez have found some interesting new wrinkles to the classic ghost story when Rings hits theaters this Friday.
Source: Paramount Pictures