(Originally posted 26th February 2017)
I know that I'm wasting my time asking for originality or freshness from Hollywood, particularly with a horror franchise, but my main complaint with this film is that it's just a retread of the first film without really doing anything new or interesting. Surely with a third instalment so far removed from the previous film there isn't any great risk in trying to actually make something with some kind of artistic value.
That being said, the film does exactly what it sets out to and exactly what you'd expect of a basic horror franchise. There is a plot of some sort that goes further into the back story of Samara and why she won't just die and leave everyone alone. And just like the first film, we're left with more questions than answers and a general message that she is just evil incarnate and you should stop trying to rescue her.
The film does try to embrace the advancement of technology that renders the original video tape threat somewhat impotent. It doesn't get too gimmicky about it, there is just a new way of distributing the video. But you still don't see a tiny Samara coming out of a mobile phone screen, which is very disappointing.
Although the film is let down by a plodding plot and mediocre actors (although Vincent D'Onofrio is always a welcome addition to a cast), it does have some good points. It is very nicely shot with some fine cinematography that helps to establish the atmosphere and create a general sense of unease. It doesn't rely too heavily on jump scares, which is usually good, but it doesn't really replace them with legitimate psychological horror as you might find in Gore Verbinski's version.
The cast are a bit too “Hollywood teenager”, in that they are impossibly handsome 27 year olds, and it all feels like it's being pitched at a mindless teen audience, which is just reductive and offensive to everyone involved. It's ultimately all pretty forgettable but basically gets the job done as far as throwaway horror is concerned. At least it's not as bad as The Ring 2.
A great example of the lack of ambition in the film industry.
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