2002's "The Ring," directed by Gore Verbinski, was a uniquely atmospheric and altogether special ghost story, a rare American remake (it was based on the 1998 Japanese film "Ringu") which arguably improved upon the original. Fifteen years on, it still holds up magnificently. It probably didn't need a sequel, as evidenced by 2005's distaff "The Ring Two," and it certainly didn't need the preposterous, dopey, late-to-the-table third entry "Rings." More knockoff than organic continuation, the picture tries to expand the lore surrounding vengeance-seeking child specter Samara and her cursed videotape, but stumbles out of the gate with sloppy writing, choppy editing, copious plot holes, and overbearing yet singularly unhelpful exposition. Director F. Javier Gutiérrez and scribes Jacob Aaron Estes & David Loucka and Akiva Goldsman prove ill-equipped to fully realize this material. Or, might there have been a few extra aggravating cooks in the kitchen?
The airplane-set opener is approached with such breakneck absurdity one expects it to be a sort of movie-within-a-movie ruse a 'la 2000's "Urban Legends: Final Cut." Alas, it's all intended to be really real, and two years after the doomed flight, the VCR (and a deadly videocassette) owned by one of its victims is bought at a flea market by university professor Gabriel Brown (Johnny Galecki). The gist—if one isn't already familiar—is that anyone who dares to watch said video is destined to perish exactly seven days later unless they copy and share it with someone else. This loophole saves Gabriel's life, but subsequent viewers, like graduate student Skye (Aimee Teegarden), seem to have an awful time finding a single person to show it to despite living on a bustling college campus. When the teenaged Julia (Matilda Lutz) sacrifices herself to save marked boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe), a mysterious blip occurs during the copying process which creates a completely different horrific collection of images. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery before Julia's hourglass runs out, she and Holt head to Sacrament Valley, an ailing small town where Samara's body has been laid to rest.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review