A doomed hike through a creepy, foreign forest. Disemboweled bodies strung up in the trees. A cabin filled with horrors.
These are just some of the gruesome things you are going to endure if you decide to go along on the journey The Ritual invites you on. David Bruckner has a very disturbing horror movie available on Netflix, and it is worth every single minute of terror! This film is good enough to warrant turning away from your real money slots entertainment for its duration.
The Boys Decide to Enjoy Themselves
While out at a bar one evening, a group of guys living in the UK decide to do something new on their annual vacation. Luke, played by Rafe Spall, Phil, played by Arsher Ali, Hutch, played by Robert James-Collier, Dom, played by Sam Troughton, and Robert, played by Paul Reid, decide that, instead of hitting another tourist trap in Europe, they are going to explore the Scandinavian wilderness.
Tragedy Strikes the Group
Just after they have finished making the plans, Luke and Robert hit a liquor store which ends up being robbed. Robert doesn’t make it past this point, thanks to some very brutal violence, and Luke ends up riddled with guilt because he didn’t try harder to save his friend. In order to ease his pain, the group of friends go on the hike as a way to honour Robert.
Things Begin to Unravel
The Ritual may sound a lot like The Blair Witch Project, and it certainly shares some similarities, but, both narratively and tonally, it is more like The Hallow, from 2015. Horror buffs will remember that The Hallow depicts the story of a family fighting their way through a swathe of demonic creatures that inhabit the woods behind their remote Irish home. Folk tales depicting ancient evil aside, The Ritual gest past a rather overdone premise thanks to its the exploration of the bond between the remaining friends that gives the story a lot of depth.
Guilt Can Terrorise Us Too
Although a significant period of time has passed since Luke witnessed his friend being murdered, he is still plagued by terrifying visions of the memory. More than once Luke turns to find the blood-spattered walls of the liquor store murder-scene growing up out of the forest floor. Even if the forest isn’t playing mind games with Luke, it is clear that he is already haunted. Guilt may not literally gut you, but it messes you up just the same is the message here.
The Thrill of Unexpected Twists
Without revealing too much about what exactly is terrorizing Luke and his friends, it is safe to say that part of the appeal of this film is the unexpected turns it takes. Just when you think you have figured everything out, and finally know what is going on, Bruckner hits you with another curveball.
The film ends up as brilliantly as it began, and I can tell you that I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Highly recommended!