Ring Around the Rosie (March 19/06)
There's a hilarious sequence about midway through Ring Around the Rosie that perfectly exemplifies the film's incompetence, in which the central character (played by Gina Philips) falls out of a second-story window in her creepy house and is effortlessly caught by the estate's handyman. While this absurd moment admittedly makes a bit more sense in light of certain third-act revelations, the movie is riddled with similarly questionable elements and a general sense of pointlessness.
Karin (Philips) is a mentally-unstable young woman who's been suffering from strange nightmares all her life, stemming from a traumatic incident at the family cottage years earlier. After her grandmother dies and leaves the mansion to her, Karin decides to confront her fears by heading out to the country with her boyfriend (Randall Batinkoff) to clear out the house and put it up for sale. Upon arriving, Karin encounters local jack-of-all-trades Pierce (Tom Sizemore) - a mysterious weirdo who knows far more than he should about Karin's past.
Ring Around the Rosie has been written and directed by Rubi Zack, a first-time filmmaker who infuses the movie with an extraordinarily deliberate pace that is presumably meant to establish an ambiance of creepiness. As such, there's not a whole lot going on here aside from sequences in which Karin cautiously wanders about the mansion and its grounds. The introduction of Sizemore's Pierce - a figure that couldn't possibly be more sketchy and suspicious - does provide the film with a short-lived burst of tension, but his unapologetically broad performance ultimately transforms his character into a run-of-the-mill horror movie psycho. As for Philips, she does the best she can with the material but is essentially left floundering (that Karin spends virtually the entire movie freaking out probably doesn't help matters).
And while Zack does offer up a few genuinely creepy moments - most of which seem to have been cribbed from Kubrick's The Shining - there's just no overlooking the general vibe of familiarity at work here (to be fair, however, the resolution is somewhat unexpected - although utterly and thoroughly preposterous). This is the kind of story that's been done countless times before, and Zach's refusal to bring anything new to the table ultimately transforms the film into a seriously tedious experience.