Time: 94 Minutes
Rafe Spall as Luke
Arsher Ali as Phil
Robert James-Collier as Hutch
Sam Troughton as Dom
Director: David Bruckner
Reuniting after the tragic death of their friend, four college pals (Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier and Sam Troughton) set out to hike through the Scandinavian wilderness. A wrong turn leads them into the mysterious forests of Norse legend, where an ancient evil exists and stalks them at ever turn.
I had sort of heard about The Ritual for a while now, a Netflix horror thriller that takes place in the woods with Nordic elements. That’s literally all I knew going into the movie and with that I had quite a good time with it. It’s quite a familiar horror movie for sure but its nonetheless a pretty good movie.
I personally found not knowing anything about the movie before going in helped a lot, so if you don’t already know much about it, try to not learn too much more about what it’s about before watching. The Ritual has a pretty standard plot: people go into the woods and crazy things happen. It does a pretty good job at keeping your attention throughout its 90 minute runtime. Most of the movie is a slow build up but isn’t necessarily a slow burn, it keeps up the pace and doesn’t really drag. Once it gets to the 4 of them entering inside a house, that’s when it really picks up. Every random sighting or experience from them just adds upon the suspense and sense of dread. There aren’t any answers given to them until much later on in the movie. When it gets to the last act it sort of loses that sort of suspense and mystery but I was still fine with where they went. While I was okay with the direction they went with for the story at the end, they do end it a little abruptly and it would’ve been benefitted from another scene or so.
The cast consists of mainly Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James Collier and Sam Troughton and while their characters aren’t given a huge amount of depth and are standard horror main characters, their performances made up for it. The 4 of them do feel like friends and people losing their minds as they descend deeper into the woods. The main character out of all of them is really Rafe Spall and while he is really good in the movie, unfortunately the only aspect really given to his character is just guilt over not being able to stop a friend’s death. Otherwise we basically know nothing about him and that one aspect we do know about him doesn’t really come around to affect the plot in a major way, which is strange considering that we keep flashing back to it. We don’t know that much more about the other 3 characters but its enough for the movie.
Almost all of the movie is set inside the Swedish woods and it does a great job at setting the audience there as well. It builds up atmosphere very effectively and the scares for the most part aren’t cheap and are effective. The Ritual throughout is building up some sort of creature or force and while I won’t spoil what it is, I’ll say that the creature itself is completely original and unique to any horror monster I’ve seen before. Most of the time you don’t see it at all but it is creepy and freaky whenever it is.
The Ritual is another decent little horror flick. The acting is pretty good, the overall direction was good, the atmosphere is effective, the monster is something unique and the whole movie keeps your attention from start to finish. It’s not something that we haven’t seen before but if you like horror movies, The Ritual is definitely worth a watch.