Tag Archives: David Bruckner

The Ritual (2018) Review

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.

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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.

V/H/S (2012) Review

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Contains horror, violence, sex scenes and offensive language.

Tape 56
•Calvin Reeder as Gary
•Lane Hughes as Zak
•Kentucker Audley as Rox
•Adam Wingard as Brad
•Frank Stack as Old Man
•Sarah Byrne as Abbey
•Melissa Boatright as Tabitha
•Simon Barrett as Steve
•Andrew Droz Palermo as Fifth Thug

Amateur Night
•Hannah Fierman as Lily
•Mike Donlan as Shane
•Joe Sykes as Patrick
•Drew Sawyer as Clint
•Jas Sams as Lisa
•Cuthbert Wallace as Toothbrush

Second Honeymoon
•Joe Swanberg as Sam
•Sophia Takal as Stephanie
•Kate Lyn Sheil as Girl

Tuesday the 17th
•Norma C. Quinones as Wendy
•Drew Moerlein as Joey Brenner
•Jeannine Yoder as Samantha
•Jason Yachanin as Spider
•Bryce Burke as The Glitch

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger

•Helen Rogers (actress) as Emily
•Daniel Kaufman as James
•Liz Harvey as The New Girl
•Corrie Fitzpatrick as Girl Alien
•Isaiah Hillman as Boy Alien
•Taliyah Hillman as Little Girl Alien

•Chad Villella as Chad
•Matt Bettinelli-Olpin as Matt
•Tyler Gillett as Tyler
•Paul Natonek as Paul
•Nicole Erb as The Girl
•John Walcutt as Cult Leader
•Eric Curtis as Roommate

Director: Adam Wingard (Tape 56), David Bruckner (Amateur Night), Ti West (Second Honeymoon), Glenn McQuaid (Tuesday the 17th), Joe Swanberg (The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger), Radio Silence (10/31/98)

Hired to steal a rare VHS tape from a remote house, a ragtag band of crooks finds a dead body, old TVs and a lot of cryptic footage.

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This idea sounded dead on arrival, simply because found footage movies have been done to death, nearly all of them nowadays are just retreads of previous better versions, and are just cash grabs. However, this movie is a bit surprising, as it has a lot of variety and is almost experimental. I wouldn’t really call it a great movie overall, a lot of it is hit or miss but it is better than most of the found footage films in recent years.

This movie ties everything together with a main plot of thieves breaking into a house and seeing these tapes. However, you don’t really end up caring that much about this plotline. It doesn’t help that these characters are horrible, uninteresting and unlikable. By the end I didn’t really get why this story was supposedly tying the other tapes together. The best segment was the first tape titled Amateur Night. It also has a clever way of having the camera, with it being in the protagonist’s glasses. On top of that, there seemed to be an actual reason for most of the characters to be unlikable, and it pays off in a great way. The payoff on the whole is great and it does have legitimately intense moments. The 2nd tape, Second Honeymoon was one of the weakest segments, basically it follows a couple. Aside from the ending, there’s nothing that memorable about the segment. The other segments at least had some sense of uneasiness before the payoff, this segment only had one scene before this payoff, and it just isn’t at the level as the others. This movie aside from a couple scenes didn’t have much reason to have the camera. Tuesday the 17th follows a group of friends going to the forest. It had some good aspects to it, it was rather creative with the payoff but the characters were insufferable. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She was Younger is a bit different from the others but once you see everything, it works well. It’s done through skype calls between two people and while I wouldn’t say that its scary, it was well done. The last clip is 10/31/98, which involves a group of friends on Halloween going into an ‘odd’ house. While it was fun, it wasn’t really a great segment.

The acting is incredibly hit or miss. Some were fine, others were awful, though I have a feeling that a lot of that has to do with the writing. Most the characters are incredibly annoying or unlikable. There are some good performances in here though. In Amateur Night Hannah Fierman is great in her role, without giving too much away she does well at being socially awkward, creepy but yet manages to infuse sympathy into her performance. And in The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger, the two lead actors (Helen Rogers and Daniel Kaufman) were really good in their roles.

As for the direction, each of the 6 segments has its own director, all of them are at least okay, the direction of the clips weren’t really the source of my problems with some of them. As I said, some of the found footage aspects made sense within the story, but for others, not so much.

VHS is a bit of a mixed bag honestly. Most of the characters are horrible, the plots follow a lot of clichés and most of them aren’t all that great. However, if you are a fan of horror and you are curious enough, I’d suggest giving it a watch. It’s not all great but it is a little fun. It’s at least good enough for me to willing give the sequel a try, maybe it might be better overall.