Movie Review: The Ritual (2018)

December 29, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

To honor their fallen friend, four dudes decide to go hiking in Sweden (trust me, it isn’t as rando as it sounds…these dudes were going to rough it in just such a manner before their bro got all pulped AF by some thieves). Anyway, woods, cold, hikety-do! Almost immediately these fools find and ignore the tell-tale signs that you should just give up trudging through the woods and go the fuck home and play some Xbox or some such shit; namely ancient runes carved everywhere, large animal carcasses hanging from trees, strange effigies of inhuman figures located in “abandoned” cabins…Anyway, as you may have surmised, something ancient and evil lives in them thar woods, and our heroes are about to be in for the nightmare ride of all nightmare rides as they try to survive not only the beast and his faithful throng, but also the guilt they harbor inside their souls!
Directed by David Bruckner (Southbound, V/H/S), with a screenplay courtesy of  Joe Barton in turn based on Adam Nevill’s novel of the same name, The Ritual is a grim tale indeed. The protagonists are a flawed and sad sack bunch, and their torment is matched aesthetically by the cold, wet environment they find themselves in…and the mounting terror that surrounds them ramps at a satisfying pace. Also of note is the absolutely bonkers creature design this film possesses…a more unique beast you’d be hard pressed to find, and the thing is pulled of believably and fantastically. In addition, the kill scenes in this film are suitably brutal, and the psychological underpinnings present in the tale add a level of gravitas not often found in creature features…so there’s that for ya!
On the negative end of the scale; this film draws plenty of story parallels from The Blair Witch Project, so some of the more ov kult material may not seem as fresh as it could (runes, effigies,, and while I liked the parallels between the rituals of grief and the more arcane ceremonies that take place concurrently, some of you may not dig on such high-falootin’ ponderings and may feel they detract too much from the supernatural shenanigans at hand.
If you are looking for a tale that blends awesome creature design, ancient arcane rites, and the aftermath of grief (and who isn’t amirite?!!) you’ll want to head to ol’ Netflix and fire up The Ritual post-haste…it’s a dark as midnight monster mash that’s well worth a look!


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