In 2002, Western audiences were blessed with the supernatural psychological horror masterpiece (okay, that's arguable) known as Gore Verbinski's The Ring. The film was an American remake of the Japanese classic Ringu.
The Ring's concepts, themes, and terrifying scenes made it memorable and are still referenced in pop culture today. It is also notable for being one of the highest-grossing horror films in history, and for focusing on psychological themes rather than perverse gore. The Ring was the first American remake of a Japanese horror classic and began the trend of remaking other Japanese horror films for Western audiences.
The Ring had a lackluster but not terrible sequel in 2005, and now the remake is getting a reboot... sort of. The upcoming horror film Rings from director F. Javier Gutierrez is technically a sequel but is rumored to have themes much closer to the first film.
Fourteen years after the original Ring scared the crap out of us, fans are hoping that Rings won't just be another crummy sequel to a good horror movie.
Check out the 15 Things We Want to See In The Ring Reboot.
15 The famous girl-in-the-closet scene
This scene was one of many memorable and iconic scenes in The Ring, mostly because it let us know what we were in for. This was not going to be your run-of-the-mill horror movie. It was going to be psychological, disturbing, and would mix jump scares with terrifying scenes. The special effects makeup used in this scene was impeccable and it disturbed us to our core, even if it only was visible for a split second. The unforgettable shot flashes as the poor girl’s mother says “I saw her face” in the wake of her death.
If Rings included a scene similar to this, it would have the potential to be really, really cool.
Rick Baker, the talented special effects makeup artist behind The Ring and The Ring Two, will unfortunately not be returning for Rings. He retired from the film industry early last year and it looks like he will be replaced by his protégé Arjen Tuiten for Rings. There’s hope yet!
14 A new take on the cursed video
The Rings trailer seemed to show clips of the exact original cursed video, which at the very least shows that they aren’t trying to make the Ring concept into something completely new and unrelated to the original films. However, there is a chance that we’ll see some changes in the video, judging by the twist that the trailer boasts.
A "movie within a movie" twist is hinted at during the official trailer, but what exactly will that mean? Will there be secret imagery in the original cursed video that we missed before? Or is there possibly a second cursed videotape that first cursed videotape has secret clues to?
Whatever the direction they go in with the cursed video, we hope it won’t go down the rabbit hole of corny horror adaptations for the “YouTube generation” that end up as unappealing and unrelatable to the younger generation as it is to the older one. The concept of the cursed Samara videotape ending up online doesn’t have to be cheesy or poorly-written-- let’s hope it is done well.
13 A possible "possession" theme
In The Ring Two, we were introduced to a new concept within the Ring universe-- Samara has the ability to possess people. She attempts to take over the body of Aiden, the heroine Rachel’s son, in order to finally have a loving mother. The premise was really sad and Samara failed in her attempts to steal his body.
The Rings trailer may be hinting at a possible possession storyline. Our new lead is zapped by her phone after getting the notorious “seven days” phone call and the scar on her hand reads “rebirth” in braille.
This little hint could mean a lot of things. It could mean that Samara has been “reborn” via the Internet and is able to kill many more people, possibly everyone, with the use of her viral video. It could also mean that Samara is somehow aging and is ready to actually be reborn into an adult woman’s body rather than the body of a child.
12 A lack of jump scares
There are very few horrors films out there that are memorable despite using a ton of jump scares. We’re not talking about those moments of intense anticipation followed by a quick sharp crescendo because those can be pretty great. We’re talking about lazy film assaults that are out of nowhere, not scary, not well-written, and only serve to snap us to attention and get a reaction.
If the best a horror movie can do is squeeze cheap flighty moments of terror out of us, then it probably isn’t the best horror movie.
The Ring and The Ring Two had a few heart attack moments, but the film’s terror wasn’t based solely on jump scares. The Ring had a few jumps scares but also had moments of thrilling anticipation and disturbing imagery. That's what made the film so good.
Unfortunately, judging by the trailer for Rings, there might be some cheap scare tactics involved in the new sequel. Let’s hope there’s a chance that the jump scares are few and far between in the actual film.
11 An ambiance similar to the first Ring
It’s the little things that really make a film great. Those little things include musical scores, cinematography, use of color, and good writing.
The Ring had all of those. Most of the film has a grey-blue color palette reminiscent of deep, dark waters with a viridescent somber glow. The vibe of the entire movie, even in scenes that weren’t central to the plot, was gloomy and even depressing. The dialogue and mood of the actors were drab and almost nihilistic without being completely and totally insufferable. In fact, despite having such a gloomy cast of protagonists, it was hard not to root for the little broken family that got sucked into another broken family’s eternal curse.
Ehren Kruger's screenplay had an ambiance that differed so much from the original Ringu that it deserves recognition for being its own unique piece of spooky art (with a borrowed plot from Hiroshi Takahashi's film). The sound effects and score were also a great mix of spooky and sad.
If Rings could match this detailed scaffolding of ambiance, it might just be a great sequel.
10 A plot that isn't rushed
There’s been a trend in the last decade of cinema, notably bad cinema, that is based on an insulting belief that today’s audience is completely vapid and incapable of paying attention for longer than three seconds. A lot of films feel like they’re written like Vine clips rather than solid pieces of cinema. This is especially true of this decade’s collection of really bad horror movies, which want to get important backstories out of the way as fast as possible.
The Ring had the perfect pacing for a horror movie. It was far from rushed and also far from slow-burning. It took its time, gave us space to care about our protagonists, and allowed us to slowly get more and more afraid.
Hopefully, Rings will have the right amount of pacing that will allow for the buildup of fear instead of falling into the cheap fast-forwarded opening sequence trope that so many films nowadays have.
9 A final resolution for Samara
Does the Ring franchise really need any more sequels? Do we need another four or five years of predictable October expectations of another Ring movie, like we did with Saw? Most fans would probably say no.
A holy trinity of terror would suit the Ring universe well and closing the book with a final resolution for Samara could be the closure we all need. How that final resolution is played out could take several different directions. It doesn't necessarily have to just settle with Samara’s gruesome spirit finding purity and ascending into the heavens. Rings could end with Samara cursing the entire world with her viral video and causing the apocalypse. She could possess our lead heroine and walk amongst the living as a normal young woman and the curse will end for good. Who knows? Anything would be better than setting the film’s ending up to allude to yet another installment in the franchise. Give the soggy girl a break.
8 Subliminal messaging and Easter Eggs
Hardcore fans of The Ring might know what we mean here. The Ring was full of subliminal messaging, which can be seen slowed down here.
The Ring DVD had the option of watching the cursed video in its entirety and would throw in a generic ultra-loud phone ringing soundbite at the end to scare the crap out of viewers. The DVD version of The Ring Two also had this option. A select few VHS versions also played the cursed video before even getting to the FBI warning.
Rings could easily pay homage to its roots with a few subliminal messages and easter eggs during the film. It is definitely not at the top of this list of demands, but it would still be pretty cool and could offer some incentive for watching the film more than once.
7 The return of at least some of the original cast
Let’s look at the facts that we have so far when it comes to cast and crew: Rings is officially going to be directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez and will star Alex Roe, Matilda Lutz, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, and Vincent D’Onofrio.
Naomi Watts will officially not be returning to the Ring franchise and Daveigh Chase is a little too old to play flashback pre-death Samara anymore. There could very well be some appearances of previous characters, such as Samara’s mother or a grown-up Aiden. However, Bonnie Morgan, the creepy crawly stunt actress behind previous Samara sequences, will return to her role for Rings.
A guest appearance or two would tie Rings just a little bit closer to the original Ring, especially after a fourteen-year gap. If Rings is truly a sequel rather than a reboot, cameos would be a helpful way to connect it to the franchise.
6 Symbolism similar to the first film
Most of The Ring was fairly straightforward, with little symbolism or satire behind it. There was an interpretation of Samara's story floating around years ago that speculated that her short life and death were meant to point out how poorly we treat and stigmatize children who are neurodivergent or mentally ill, but that is about it. Much of the symbolism in The Ring involved breaking down each avant garde and gruesome scene in the cursed videotape and figuring out exactly what they meant. The scenes of the horses, the hair-combing, the man in the window, and the dreaded nail penetrating the fingertip all were directly connected to Samara's death in various ways. A great analysis of the tape can be found here.
If Rings could implement some symbolism for us to figure out and have fun with, that would be a pretty interesting direction to go in. This is unlikely, but we can definitely hope.
5 A focus on relationships
From what we can see in the Rings trailer, this may not be a full possibility. Our two lead characters are a man and woman who are clearly in love.
In The Ring, we follow a broken family, or rather a family that was never really whole to begin with. Aiden is being raised by his mother Rachel and seems to have almost no relationship with his father, Rachel’s ex-boyfriend Noah. The disconnect between father and son is seen in one particular scene where Aiden and Noah meet on the sidewalk outside of Rachel’s apartment in the rain. Aiden looks up from beneath his umbrella and Noah looks down at him for a few seconds before Aiden turns to passively leave. This relationship was rare to see in a horror film and was unique and quite sad.
In Rings, even if there isn’t a family involved, hopefully complex relationships will play a role in the film’s plot in a similar way they did in The Ring.
4 A unique and different origin story
If you watch the Rings trailer closely, around 1:02, Vincent D'Onofrio’s character asks our lead if she wants to know about the girl in the well in conjunction with various scenes from the first Ring movie, including Samara being strangled by her mother. Then, we see a new scene where our lead is suddenly in a basement bunker where there are chains, a bedpost, desperate scratches on the wall, and a ladder similar to the one from the first film that led to Samara’s loft in the barn. Could this mean we will learn something different about Samara from when she was alive? Or will there be a new origin story altogether?
We want Rings to stay true to the story and nature of the rest of the Ring franchise, but putting a fresh spin on the story of Samara (and her family) could make the film even more interesting and exciting.
3 The warped photos
This may not be the biggest demand ever nor is it the most important, but the warped photos were so unnerving and memorable in the original Ring. They were closely tied to the anxiety we all felt when we first watched The Ring. How terrifying and stressful would it be to have only seven days to live, and during those seven days you have nothing but subversive and spooky reminders of your demise? The nightmares, the handprint burn marks, seeing your distorted likeness in every photo and video? The scene in The Ring where Noah looks at his face on the convenience story security camera and a distorted blur follows his face around as he moves was quietly scary. The feeling of being marked and having absolutely no way out is scary.
We hope they don’t leave out the warped imagery in Rings and keep this little element of the original film intact for the sequel.
2 A big Samara reveal towards the end
Throughout the first Ring, we see bits and pieces of the disfigured and ghostly Samara along with flashback images of her as a fresh-faced living girl. However, near the very end of the film, we get a big reveal of Samara for the first time. In Noah’s studio, he’s hanging out, thinking that the curse has been broken and he’s totally safe. Samara, accompanied by a swelling and spooky score, crawls out of his television and stands straight, showing only a peek of her horrible face behind her long, unnerving black stringy hair.
There seems to be a scene in the Rings trailer where Samara rises from a watery floor amongst cockroaches and other insects. It’s pretty lame to include major scenes in trailers, but perhaps this two-second sneak peak is from the grand reveal of Samara in this film. We can only hope she isn’t overexposed throughout the whole movie. Part of what makes Samara so spooky is that we rarely get to see her face.
1 Special effects that don't go overboard
There’s a good chance that Rings will not be short on the special effects budget, as the film has an estimated thirty-three million dollar budget. However, cheap, overused CGI can really kill any movie, not just a horror flick. And depending on it can take away from the screenplay and plot.
In the first Ring there were quite a few special effects, from Samara crawling through screens to the woman in the mirror to bringing flies to life. The disturbing faces of Noah and Rachel’s niece seem to be a mix of special effects makeup and CGI. It was all just enough to get the creepiness level right. The Ring Two was just a smidge campier and had way more special effects (and not the best special effects, either) which detracted from the original film’s elements of terror.
Hopefully, the special effects in Rings will be great and not cheesy. And judging by the film’s trailer, it seems that they are using the effects just right.
What do you expected from Rings? Let us know in the comments!