+- Recommended at Your Discretion – R, Horror
The Ritual’s opening promises great thrills and intensity. However, as the plot progresses and certain reveals are made, the film falls into the classic horror tropes that we have seen time and time again; a truly bland and lifeless staple that has to end in order for horror to survive the next few years. Luckily with the success of It (2017) and the way horror movies in 2018 are shaping-up, it seems to me that horror is going in the right direction.
David Bruckner’s (V/H/S) new film follows a group of four friends as they travel through a Swedish forest. They must learn to stick together and withstand the urge to inflict harm on one another as they fight for survival. For those who are fans of The Witch (2015), many will find that the cinementography closly resemlbes and almost mirrors it; using a natural-light gloom which adds a blue hue to the final product. However, the camera work still happens to be the strongest aspect of the film.\
Each character is likeable at face value, although I was appalled by our main character for the first 25 minutes of the film. Eventually I learned to accept him, though. While I liked the characters, I did feel as though they were classic stereotypical characters; leader, loner, obnoxious friend, etc. Those tiny traits led me in the direction of not recommending this film simply because I believe it is lazy writing.
Another aspect of the film I wound up appreciating was the effective monster design. While we aren’t shown much at first, I was intruiged by mystery of the creature in the forest. When we finally do get a good look at it, it’s scary as hell. And the same could be said for the set and sound design during the final moments of the movie. What doesn’t make sense, however, is the nonsensical portions of the plot that are never explained. There is no excuse for half-ass writing an explanation of the events in any movie.
I might not appreciate every aspect of the film but if you have a Netflix subscription, check it out. While this isn’t going to be a movie that pushes you into getting a subscription, I believe it has enough entertainment value for you to view at least once and maybe get a good scare or two. Let us know what you think of it in the comments below!