I’ll be honest—it took a few deep breaths for me to muster the courage to click “play” on the above video. Like many, I incurred no shortage of shudders from The Ring, which I first watched in the most apropos venue of a group sleepover in a friend’s spacious but corner- and shadow-laden basement. I remember feeling that I was probably the only kid in the room who was quite so terrified of the movie, and definitely the only kid in the room considering the feasibility of Samara’s permeation of my friend’s sizable television set mid-viewing. Over the years to come, it’d be no uncommon instance for me to catch eye of a blank TV screen without entertaining the imagery of that staticky VHS tape.
I’m happy to chalk all this up to “simpler times.” Though VHS was already on its way out in 2002, when The Ring hit American audiences, the familiar standard could still evoke that earthy, homegrown feeling that digital media never could, and without coming off too kitschy. Long before horror would lay claim to a new golden era, The Ring stood veritably unique as a cultural phenomenon and critical splendor of the early millennium.
These 14 years later, we’re immersed in the ghoulish and committed wholeheartedly to the digital. Still, as the trailer for Rings, proves, there are nightmares yet to be induced. The footage transplants the horrors of the film’s predecessor (itself remade from the 1998 Japanese movie Ringu) to the age of the Internet, apparently taking full advantage of the ubiquity of the medium. Whereas The Ring contained its dreads to anyone unwise or unlucky enough to come face to face with that ill-fated tape, Rings insists that anyone with a WiFi connection is a viable candidate for hauntings.
Whether or not this lends to quite as scary a story is yet to be seen, but I can tell you for sure that the Rings trailer at least hearkened back a few of my 14-year-old self’s most vivid fears.
Images: Paramount Pictures
Michael Arbeiter is the easily scared East Coast Editor for Nerdist. Find him on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.