Title: The Ritual
Genre: Horror, Drama, Snoozefest
Summary: A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them. (from IMDB)
Starring: This Guy, That Guy, Glasses Guy, Red Coat Guy
Usually I’m down for a horror movie where the actors go on a hike and get lost in the woods. They can find anything there, from an evil killer, to a time loop or even a supernatural force that will tear them limb from limb. A good monster, such as Bigfoot or the Jersey Devil does well too. Alsi, alien invasions, government experiments gone wrong or mechanic cannibals.
Basically, anything. I’ve seen everything I’ve listed and more and have enjoyed the movie at one level or another.. or simply turned it off halfway through.
The Ritual is based on a book that my daughter is currently reading which I was unable to snatch from her fingers. She asked for it for Christmas, but she was so busy reading her novels for the Battle of the Books that I didn’t have the heart to take it from her and was too cheap to buy a Kindle copy.
The best horror movies can go one of two ways- you either care about the characters and hate seeing them in trouble, sitting through many nail biting moments, or you take the killing in stride and giggle gleefully as each person is picked off.
The Ritual, in short was neither of these. Despite some random chatter at the beginning which introduces us to the characters, immediate followed by a tragedy, I could not muster up any real emotion for the characters. So I settled into gleefully watch them wander around the woods and get picked off.
This was not to be. As a traditionally shot feature, I did not get the requisite introduction of the crew via straight talk to the camera. To me those are both fun and cheesy and allows you to bond (or not) with the character of your choosing.
Not only did I not feel a bond, the movie took a while to reach the action. After the tragedy, they go on the hike. Some introspection and discussion later, someone does something which then requires a shortcut to be taken. And I use the term ‘someone’ deliberately. I honestly could not tell one character from the other in tone. Though they all looked different, they all were so bland as to be basic clones of each other. I ended up labeling them “glasses guy”, “the one with the reddish coat” etc.
Whew, I think. The movie was finally getting underway. Boy was I wrong.
By the time they got to the meat of the movie, I was checking the time on my Ghost Rider watch. (A movie that I liked, by the way, in the face of much criticism.) Simply put, even the flashes of “something in the night”, growling and mysterious symbols on trees did nothing for me.
When you see what is really happening, the first thing I thought of was M. Night Shamalayan’s “The Village” and not in a good way. I kept wondering, if people were disappearing like this, would the authorities eventually send out search parties? Maybe things are different in Sweden.
By the final act of the movie, I just didn’t care. There was an inkling of sort of thought as to personal grief and soul-pain, but….not enough to redeem the movie. It was like The Village crossed with The Wicker Man on heroin. A huge snooze.
I can’t even recommend this for fun. Skip it. I’ll update the post when I read the book.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars for the monster. If you’re not into seeing that, skip it.
Image already added