Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Ritual, Wicker Man meets Predator

Surviving a horrific and bloody attack has its pitfalls. Sure, you're alive. Some others didn't make it, but you...well, you live to see another day. However, not all is seashells in balloons in the world of the survivor. Fear, anxiety, and guilt are now you're closest companions.  After all, what gives you the right to survive when other didn't?  A silly question, but one many survivors ask. Life now is different, and the realization that you will never be the same torments you.  Hence, 2017's "The Ritual," a new one on Netflix, directed by David Bruckner.
Luke (Rafe Spall) and four buddies plan their next man's getaway. After deciding on a hike in the Swedish wilderness, Robert (Paul Reid) and Luke head into a liquor store for some vodka. Bad idea as our duo walk in on a violent robbery. Robert will be slaughtered and Luke will survive, hiding behind a display. Fast forward several months, the quartet heads to Sweden with their dearly departed buddy heavy on their minds. Luke is wrought with guilt, feeling he should've done something during the robbery to save Robert. His buddies, well they are polite but secretly wonder if Luke could have done anything except hiding in fear.
After wimp Dom (Sam Troughton) injures his knee, the group takes a shortcut through the woods. Shortcuts, as fans of horror films know, are never a good idea. Soon, some monster, just behind the trees and out of sight, begins stalking them. As the fiend gets closer and the group realizes something is hunting them, the fright turns them on each other. After finding refuge in a mysterious cabin, our friends discover they are in woods occupied by pagan magic. All will have mysterious nightmares and in the morning, while running for survival, the pagan behemoth picks them off one by one and dissects them. Even spoilers here, but here's a hint...did you ever see "The Hills Have Eyes"?
The hard part about surviving a brutal attack is coming to grips with the reality that you will never be the same. That's okay. You have become someone else, or more accurately, you have grown into someone else.  How you handle this will decide if you are a better man now, or still a sniveling victim. When Luke comes to grips with this, the pagans and monster might wish they never messed with these blokes. Shot in Romania, "The Ritual" is a good one. My initial comparison to "Predator" and "The Wicker Man" may not be fair, but Luke's plight is one many can learn from.


  1. We dropped Netflix like two weeks before The Ritual dropped on there. I'm so irritated with my timing!

  2. Nice review mate I found this a lot better than I was expecting & watched it only purely on impulse. I found it surprisingly creepy & quite effective in parts. I think your comparisons are actually pretty spot on fwtw both films occurred to me when watching it. Nice review again Christopher I'd definitely recommend it.

  3. I only watched last night purely on impulse & it was a lot better than I was expecting as I'd read mixed reviews about it beforehand, overall I found it solid and surprisingly & effectively creepy in parts. The director is definitely one to keep an eye out for, I'd recommend his Southbound (2015) & The Signal (2007) which are both quite decent & his V/H/S segment Amateur Night is great.

    Btw I actually don't think your comparison is unfair at all and pretty spot on as both these films occurred to me when watching. Very nice review Christopher & I'd certainly rec this one.