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“I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe"

Rings: First You See It. Then You Sigh -- A Spoiler-Laden Review in Twenty Questions (March 2017)

Movie Review by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

  1. Why, after fifteen years, couldn’t we get a sequel to The Ring (2002) that was at least better than the confusing, plodding and uneven The Ring Two (2005)?
  2. How likely is it that a fellow passenger you’ve started a conversation with during a flight in 2017 would, immediately after breaking the ice, start telling you about a “video tape that kills you after you watch it”—I mean, who talks about video tapes anymore?
  3. Even though Samara’s purpose, as established in The Ring, was to make her story heard, which she accomplished by having people copy the psychically-imprinted tape in order to survive, now she decides to kill everyone on the flight in the opening sequence just to get at that one guy?
  4. Why does Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) see rain falling up seconds after watching the tape, when the events of the previous two movies have established that hallucinations of that magnitude take hours if not days to occur?
  5. How is Gabriel able to figure out how to survive and set up that entire campus operation, involving dozens of students and a whole floor of equipment, in less than seven days?
  6. If, as Holt (Alex Roe) lets the audience know, the reason for Julia (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) not being in school is that “your mom, she really needs you right now,” why do we not see Julia interact with her mom at all while she’s gone from home for days, including the long drives to Spokane and Sacrament valley?
  7. Does Holt really think that by abruptly ceasing all communication with Julia she won’t become curious, and will mind her own business and remain safely at home?
  8. What are the odds that Julia discovers Holt’s phone with six seconds of battery life remaining?
  9. If the new images (“video data condensed within the still frames”) discovered within the video are “intended for Julia alone,” as Gabriel claims, why is it that only he was able to discover them?
  10. When Julia starts narrating this new video to Holt and Gabriel, who are in the same room but aren’t watching it, why does she leave out key things, like the empty bird cage or the snake eating itself or the crawling ants or the door opening in the middle of the forest?
  11. Why did no one involved in this project object to lines such as “There is nothing about that girl that’s worth being curious about” and “Having a vision doesn’t mean that you know what that vision means”?
  12. Why does the film become Don’t Breathe (2016) for part of its third act?
  13. What was accomplished by moving Samara’s remains from one location to another?
  14. Why did Gabriel have to die, particularly given his pivotal role in Samara’s new plan?
  15. At what point exactly did Samara decide, as the movie’s final scene indicates, that she wanted to be physically reincarnated—because it seems she could have accomplished that task years ago if she’d actually wanted to, rather than messing around with the whole VHS campaign?
  16. And speaking of her initial campaign, given the implied rape and torture of her mom Evelyn that apparently led to Samara’s birth, wouldn’t that be the story she’d want to get out, ahead of the unfortunate business at the well later on?
  17. Why did Samara wait all this time to get revenge on Burke, when she’s killed so many others over the years who weren’t directly involved in her backstory?
  18. Has Samara always had the ability to heal people, as she restores Burke’s blindness right before killing him?
  19. What specifically about Julia made her a good candidate for Samara’s new designs?
  20. How is it possible that, with all of the digital copying going on--and with Samara’s demonstrated ability to spread a video virally by sending it to a person’s email contacts in the final scene--none of this has been reported on by BuzzFeed yet?

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro's reviews and essays have appeared in markets like the Los Angeles Review of Books, Strange Horizons, Asimov's, Clarkesworld, The New York Review of Science Fiction and Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

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