A college professor (Johnny Galeicki) discovers an old videotape, which he believes will prove the existence of the afterlife. However, the video is the cursed images of Samara - a demon which kills people seven days after seeing the video.
Where to start with Rings? From the outset, it's made abundantly clear that this film is not only going to be ridiculously bad, it's going to assault your senses so fully and completely that it's effectively an endurance test for terrible horror. The film opens on an airplane and sees the longhaired Samara - wait for it - emerging from a pilot's radar screen. As well as this, the ubiquitous video appears on all those in-seat screens as well. While this is meant to thrill and shock the audiences, the whole thing just smacks of a lazy film executive thinking up the idea in the middle of the flight.
The film then shifts gears and brings in D-list actors Alex Roe and Matilda Lutz as two college students who unwittingly stumble into slightly off-kilter professor Johnny Galecki's plot to try and use the infamous video as a means of defining the afterlife. Before long, the two college students - who both look like they're in their early thirties - are investigating the origins of the video and bothering rural villages and cemeteries, making incredible leaps of deduction along the way and serving to dull the viewer into submission.
Rings is very much the product of five or six ideas crammed together into a single, incoherent screenplay. At no point in any of the story does it even attempt to make a lick of sense or even try to do something different, but would you expect any better from Akiva Goldsman, the brains behind Batman & Robin and I Am Legend? The film doesn't create any sense of atmosphere or any kind of tangible fear, relying instead on air-horn horror tropes to provide jumps and shocks to the audience. You'll need them because when the film isn't trying to be scary, it's putting you to sleep with reams of daft exposition and laughably poor dialogue.
F. Javier Guiterrez's direction is lazy, flat and forgettable and looks like a cut-price version of Gore Verbinski's more stylish flourishes. There's even a few setups and situations that feel like they've been pulled from recent, more successful horrors - such as It Follows and Don't Breathe. Meanwhile, the cast is largely made up of bland and lifeless performances with nothing in the way of depth. Vincent D'Onofrio - surprise, surprise - hams it up as a creepy graveyard warden, whilst Johnny Galecki's smell-the-fart acting just makes you pine for The Big Bang Theory. The two lead actors, Alex Roe and Matilda Lutz, have absolutely no chemistry together whatsoever and are so charmless and devoid of characterisation that it's kind of breathtaking.
Rings is a flat, unoriginal, straight-to-DVD knockoff of The Ring. The film talks about copies of the original videotape, yet the film itself is so stupid in that it doesn't realise the irony of a copy degrading when it's duplicated again and again.