Hands up who else believes filmmakers around the world have been listening to Eminem’s “Without Me”? There is more than an element of narrative nostalgia about cinema releases these days, but with this particular franchise what’s past is never restrained by time frames…
It’s been twelve years since Samara’s exploits first made us suspicious of file sharing and community videos, and it looks like she’s still upset about being chucked down that familial well. However, in an age where the internet has opened up video streaming on a universal scale, burning a DVD just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
The narrative seems to take a twist for the unusual in this latest installment: the self-titled Ring no longer references the karmic theme of order, chaos and restoration, it now has a literal manifestation in the form of the circular scar gouging its way into the flesh of Samara’s latest target.
This trailer is definitely a blend of body-horror, suspense, supernatural drama and technological thriller: these themes are as timeless as they are contemporary, directed to challenge our critical and cultural sensibilities. We watch films to be entertained, but feel uncomfortably aligned to the very narrative we exploited when that entertainment turns on us and make our consumer habits our most vulnerable weakness.
Montage is manipulated to sterling effect in a countdown of days, symptoms and transformations as the plot thickens, leading us inevitably to the climactic Day 7. Fans of the films are treated to a series of Ring accents: the phone ringing; the iconic, unnerving voice tremulously whispering “Seven Days”; the looping, monochromatic footage of the well in the paddock; the staggering, soaked form of a young girl coming encroachingly closer to the viewers. There are some nice new titbits for us as well, hinting at the plot-twist of the film: our unwitting heroine/victim/sacrificial lamb starts coughing and choking on what turns out to be a very long, very tangled lock of raven black hair whilst scrubbing her own follicles in the shower. There are some definite echoes of a similar bathing sequence in another Japanese horror franchise (coughGrudgecough), but this corporeal merger of mythical villain with daunted heroine suggests a merger of exorcist narrative and character growth arc.
Some popular star names such as Johnny Galecki star in the trailer, which brings a certain contemporary edge to the cast, while director Gutiérrez breaks through into the global eye with his directorial debut in this Ring Renaissance.
As the tagline says: “Evil is Reborn”, and we can witness it this Autumn in our cinemas.