2017 / David Bruckner / Netflix / TV-MA
British thugs are a bad time.
Pour one out for yer boi
"Lick my bridge." I like that.
These dream sequences are so effective.
Where did this dude’s pants go?
The film opens with five friends enjoying a night out on the town. Upon entering a liquor store one of the men is beaten to death when a robbery takes place. The tone of this film is jerked into a new direction. Years later the remaining men meet up to take on a hike and put to rest the loss and remorse that comes with losing the respective member of their group. The men are relatable in their relationships with each other. At times they joke with each other, but feelings are suppressed, and when those feelings are exposed, we witness the degradation of friendship. This movie intrigued me in the first five minutes, and that is rare.
What makes this film horror is the insanity that ensues once the men decide to take a shortcut. A storm ushers the hikers into an eerie cabin, all the while our protagonist, Luke played by Rafe Spall, hears guttural noises coming from the forest. The Ritual will have you guessing from beginning to end, and that’s what makes this one a winner. The film is based on a novel of the same name by author Adam Nevill. The novel takes a lot of slack for actually being two separate novels that are slapped together, causing a huge tonal shift. The film is aware of that being the case and successfully smooths over the awkward transitions.
This film may have ended up pretty forgettable if not for one big factor; the creature design. This wendigo-like being is hauntingly disturbing. I say wendigo, but the monster in this film has a look that is all it's own. The large body, beady eyes, and arms seem to protrude from its neck. Blegh. The Ritual will keep you invested in the characters, and setting (there are some beautifully scenic shots). Watch this one alone or with a date. It will leave you shuddering.