Back in the 2000s, Hollywood horror was briefly gripped by a new trend: remaking Asian horror films for an English-speaking audience. Some of the biggest entries in this craze included remakes of Japanese fright flick The Grudge, the Korean detective chiller Mirrors, the Thai creeper Shutter, and the Hong Kong horror hit The Eye. However, easily the biggest splash of this craze was made by Gore Verbinski's 2002 remake of The Ring, the first major instance of the now well-known J-horror aesthetic being adapted through an American lens.
The basic premise of The Ring was simple, albeit a little outdated even by 2002 standards. An evil, supernaturally powered little girl named Samara was murdered by her parents, only for her curse to live on through a mysterious VHS tape. Anyone who watches the disturbing tape soon receives a phone call warning them that they have 7 days to live. Sure enough, once that deadline hits, they die, unless they somehow figure a way out. This was the task given to The Ring's lead character Rachel (Naomi Watts). Needless to say, The Ring was a massive success both critically and financially, bringing in nearly $250 million worldwide on a budget of only $48 million.
Naturally, that high of a profit margin led to a sequel, 2005's The Ring Two, which featured the return of both Watts and original franchise creator Hideo Nakata to the director's chair. Unfortunately, while still a commercial success - albeit to a much lesser degree - The Ring Two was a total dud with both critics and most fans. With over a decade now having passed since The Ring Two's failure, Paramount is preparing to unleash belated threequel Rings upon the world. The newest poster for Rings has been released, and it makes clear that just because the VHS era is now long over, doesn't mean that Samara's curse can't still claim victims.
Of course, things haven't exactly been smooth sailing as far as Samara's trip back to the big-screen goes. Rings was originally set to arrive in theaters on November 23, 2015, although by the time summer 2015 had come and gone without one hint of promotion for the film, it became pretty clear that date wouldn't stick. Sure enough, Paramount eventually bumped Rings' release back to April 1, 2016. That date too didn't stick, with Rings then getting moved to October 28, 2016, a rather appropriate date for a horror movie. Finally - so far anyway - about a month before Halloween, Paramount delayed Rings yet again, this time to February 3, 2017.
While it would obviously be unfair to assume that all these date changes automatically mean that Rings will be awful, to say that many franchise fans are nervous at this point would be an understatement. One of the best things about the horror fanbase in general is that they usually want a new film to succeed, regardless of the baggage that might be attached to its predecessors. After all, horror is still often marginalized by the mainstream, and usually completely ignored by those who hand out awards. Thus, when a horror movie performs well, it can become a point of pride for those who love the genre. Here's hoping Rings defies expectations and becomes one of those successes.
Source: Paramount Pictures
- Rings (2017) release date: Feb 03, 2017