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‘Ring 3’ will explain the tape, and why that shouldn’t be

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It’s been exactly ten years since the last Ring movie The Ring Two (the one with the CGI deer attack) premiered, and only now they’re finally gearing up the next entry. Spanish director F. Javier Gutiérrez directs a script by Batman & Robin scribe Akiva Goldsman with newcomer Matilda Lutz in the lead.

Contrary to earlier reports though Rings 3D will not be a reboot, but a prequel. Bloody-Disgusting says it’ll delve into the origins of the vengeful ghost Samara which probably means they’ll explain A) how exactly she became a ghost able to make phone calls and climb out of TV screens at will and B) how that infamous tape got made.

Explaining certain unanswered horror aspects is a terrible idea and it rarely works, if ever. Remember Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake? In the original, it’s completely baffling why the seemingly normal boy picks up a knife and decides to never speak again and stab teenage girls. In Zombie’s remake, young Michael suffers under the worst kind of white trash parents that can only lead to a bad future, and thus realistically overreacts upon being bullied by other kids. Or what about the Texas Chainsaw movies? Forgetting the batshit crazy cult from part four, the movies never try to explain why Leatherface wears a mask of human skin or why they’re cannibals. It just is and they just are, and it’s way more terrifying that way. Again, the remakes went so far as to explain everything. State conditions made the village poor and forced customers away, Leatherface is disfigured and thus masks himself out of shame and they eat people because patriarch R. Lee Ermey loved the taste of human flesh during his war time.

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I get where that interest is coming from. Of course it’s puzzling why someone would turn out that way and all the way through the watching of Carpenter’s Halloween you’re asking yourself why. Why is he mute? Why does he move so strangely? What drives him and why? But what producers like the ones of the new Ring movie don’t get is that these unanswered question are powerful in crafting fear. Myers would be a lot less scary if he talked and moved like a regular person. Making Leatherface be ashamed of himself makes him understandable, somewhat relatable, but you shouldn’t feel pity for a 300 pounds chainsaw-wielding mass murderer. Scares like him or Samara gain from their very untold mysteries.

Coming back to the Ring sources, there actually are many explanations to gather. There are six novels by Koji Suzuki, there’s a prequel manga and seven Japanese movies. Many of them explore the backgrounds, but unlike typical US prequels they come up with a lot of interesting weird stuff (think a girl giving birth to herself), and for every question answered there are ten new ones. This way, it stays baffling and fascinating. The US prequel though won’t get too weird and will try to wrap it up nicely, bet on it. Akiva Goldsman has never written anything subtle and his co-writer David Loucka, well he did the Jennifer Lawrence smash The House at the End of the Street.

I wonder why they even bother writing a prequel. The first Ring remake is 13 years old and their current target audience doesn’t know it at all, or even knows what VHS is. Just re-write the story to fit YouTube, iPads and modern cells in and you’re good to go.