Friday, 1 June 2018

Review - The Ritual


Five friends who have little in common now that they're all middle-aged are planning their annual lads' trip. They can't decide where to go, and the pub meeting dissolves with no solution.

Tragedy unexpectedly hits the group when one of them is murdered in a liquor store robbery, which was witnessed by another member of the group of friends.

So, in honour of their murdered friend, the group decides to go on a camping trip in Northern Sweden.

Things start to go a bit wrong when they decide to take a shortcut through the woods. After they shelter for the night at a seemingly abandoned hut, things start to go very wrong - in the "We're being chased by a very large animal that we can't see and what the fuck is that - IS THAT AN ELK GUTTED AND HANGING FROM A TREE" kind of way.

The Ritual as a horror movie works on a lot of levels. The landscape is bleak and isolated and the group have underlying tensions that lead to them making mistakes. They all suffer from nightmares, and something happens in the first hut to scare them out of their wits.

As they try to escape the woods, however, the menace grows.

What I didn't like was - the monster is shown, and explained. You know that 70s Spielberg film, Duel? Where that couple in the car are just stalked by some guy in a truck for no apparent reason, and that's where all the menace comes from? That's what I wanted from The Ritual.

And I got SOME of what I wanted, but then it kind of bottled it and went "well, we'd better have a bloody good REASON for gutting animals/people" and honestly - it's scarier when there's nothing concrete to root the notion of the fear in.

Having said that - between the landscape and the overwhelming sense of menace, The Ritual is a pretty decent horror movie, all things considered.

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