“The Ritual” Review ✦✧✧✧✧

15 February, 2018

Director: David Bruckner
Screenwriter: Joe Barton
Director of Photography: Andrew Shulkind
Rafe SpallArsher AliRobert James-Collier

Synopsis: Four buddies left reeling after the violent murder of a childhood friend seek solace in the Scandinavian wilderness where they run into an ineludable force which appears to stalk them as they traverse the forest.

The Ritual Review:

Rural rubbish with a witchy temperament, “The Ritual” is the kind of semi-stolen drivel that even the most avid of horror hounds watch with one eye open past the stroke of midnight. Banterous yet too pathetic to feel authentically British, the movie half-arses its entire screenplay with vague comparisons to “Kill List” and “The Witch” feeling almost blasphemous in a film this lamentable. Cliché in the Woods with pseudo-suspense and a faulty adrenal gland, “The Ritual” is forgettable horror at its most indefensible, a pathetic excuse for an extended traipse through the woods which culminates like an Uwe Boll knock-off of a Ben Wheatley movie.

Eerie without a good scare while barely exploring its dull-as-ditchwater premise, the movie holds a bizarre grudge against a baffled protagonist, suggesting rather oddly that a group of close friends would be quick to turn on the one who witnessed the death of their fifth member. Implausible against a plethora of genres, which Barton and Bruckner half-heartedly dabble with as they test out bursts of comedy, suspense, and mystery like chemists performing a cinematic litmus test, the movie turns on itself in unexpected ways, letting down its entire cast with endless scenes of moaning and groaning without a good punchline.

Fatefully similar to the lousy experience one obtains from a soggy weekend camping trip, “The Ritual” is missing the decent puns and knockout scares to take it to the next level; a truth made somewhat shameful in the face of an intriguing third act which is vomited out without the nuance of pagan classics like “The Wicker Man” and “The Blair Witch Project”. While clearly in love with a whole list of horror favourites, the film frowns far too earnestly at its own forest foibles, putting viewers off as it whinges to the sound of mediocrity while remaining undecided on whether or not to be taken seriously.


Review Date
The Ritual