Summer is in full effect and the heatwave over here is still going strong. In order to battle the heat, you can use fans, airconditioning, pools, showers, refreshing drinks, ice cream and so on. You get the giste. I decided to cool myself in a completely other way. Nothing sends shivers up my spine like a good horror. So I closed the curtains, turned off the lights and started up Netflix. I heard good things about The Ritual, so that was my pick.
Lads night out
Five friends from university meet up to relive old times. They plan and discuss where to go on a trip together, but most plans are shot down. When Luke and Rob decide to get some booze, they are surprised by robbers at the convenience store. So, you guessed it: Rob tragically dies.
To honour their dead friend, the other, grieving friends decide to go with Rob’s suggestion: The King’s Trail in Sweden; a hike in the North of Sweden that takes several days to complete. They embark on the trip six months later.
An accident pretty soon into the trail, leaves one of the friends in a lot of pain. So, they decide to take a short cut through a forest to get back home sooner. Sounds like a great idea, right? First, they stumble upon a rotting tent and a gutted elk hanging from a tree. While fleeing from a downpour they stumble upon an abandoned cottage filled with strange symbols and a pagan effigy. As they spend the night, they discover they are not alone…
Fear of the dark
The premise does sound like a cliche: people get lost in an unknown environment. How many of them will survive? Without spoiling anything, the movie does a good job on giving this cliche some spice. It’s not a bunch of horny teenagers at a camp site and it’s not your typical slasher villain. We are dealing with a group of friends in their thirties with underlying tensions in the group. And the makers of the movie do a good job of not giving too much away what’s stalking them. The first part feels like a psychological horror. Next to that the Monster itself is something I have never seen before in a horror movie. As you watch a horror, you hope to be scared. You want to sit on the edge of your seat, while your heart races. And The Ritual delivers that.
The Ritual uses the setting in the best way. Ever been in the woods in night? I have, and they are scary and confusing if you don’t know the way. Add to that the human element. As the tension rises, more and more cracks form in the group of friends. Resentment, anger and distrust claw themselves to the surface. And to finish off this horror, an unknown pagan evil stalking them adds to the suspense.
The Ritual scratched my itch. It’s a scary movie and it sent shivers down my spine. It made me forget the summer heat. I like a good creature feature, especially if they keep the creature hidden for a long time. The friends have to fight not only this unknown monster as well as their own fears. It’s this mix of suspense and horror that I really liked. The pagan/mythology theme reminds of some of the good X-files/Supernatural episodes.
- Scary yet beautiful setting. The movie reminds me of The Blair Witch Project in a good way.
- Good build up of the suspense. It’s as I like it, slowly unfolding descent into the unescapable demise.
- Interesting monster. The less said about this, the better. But I really liked the origin of the evil forces
- Group dynamics. I like it when group dynamics come in play and ramp up the tension. Stranded in an unknown forest will surely bring out the best/worst in a person/group.
- The characters are on the flat side and not always likeable. They are given some defining traits, but don’t expect great backgrounds.
- The synopsis is a bit cliche. There are a lot of horror movies taking place in the woods, filled with all kinds of evil beings.
If you like pagan movies like The Wicker Man or Hereditary you will love the Ritual. You can find it on Netflix!