The Ritual (2017) - David Bruckner

81/100

A BEAUTIFULLY HAUNTING AND ORIGINAL MOVIE.

Director: David Bruckner

Producers: Jonathan Cavendish, Richard Holmes and Andy Serkis

Writer: Joe Barton

Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier and Sam Troughton

Studios: The Imaginarium, eOne Films and Netflix

Release Date: 8 September 2017

Country: United Kingdom

The Ritual is a British horror movie from 2017 that was directed by David Bruckner and written by Joe Barton. Starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier and Sam Troughton. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and was picked up by Netflix for distribution. It’s received mixed reviews but gained popularity this year. I had heard people at work talking about this one. The testimonials I had overheard made me really excited for this one.

Five friends had made a pact to go on a hiking trip together in Sweden to catch-up on old times and bond. However, after one of them is murdered in a convenience store robbery, the remaining four plan to go on the hike as a tribute to their fallen lad. Unfortunately, they run into a murderous ancient deity that hangs its sacrifices in the trees in a very gruesome fashion. Can these guys work together to escape that horrible creature in the woods?

The Ritual is a very dark picture that has some tremendous imagery and a really gripping story. It’s amazing to think about this as an independent picture. The cinematography was handled by Andrew Shulkind. And he does a great job of making this film seem so much bigger. The imagery is so beautiful and so haunting. Director David Bruckner paints the scenes in a drab tone that helps express the helplessness our buddies feel. The movie had an amazing art design. Very well made sets that are believable with a very terrifying creature. It’s interesting to note that the monster is made by Keith Thompson. A “frequent collaborator” with Guillermo Del Toro.

This is a fantastic movie that’s both entertaining and frightening. Casual fans might find the slow pace a bit boring. But seasoned horror movie fans will appreciate the dramatic build to a truly terrifying reveal. You might also appreciate the light Lovecraft influences that the movie touches on, including the monster. The movie has a good deal of rewatch value. It’s a really good picture that fits into any horror movie marathon, usually later in the evening. I highly recommend that everyone watch The Ritual.