‘The Ritual’: The Horror News Network Review

by Christine Caprilozzi

Now playing on Netflix is the chilling outdoors adventure, The Ritual.  Directed by David Bruckner with the script by Joe Barton, the film centers around four college friend’s trip into the woods following the death of one of their schoolmates.  Don’t be fooled by the whole camping in the woods scenario.  The Ritual does not play upon any of the usual horror tropes that genre audiences have seen time and time again.

Along with their camping gear, this crew of guys brings along a lot of emotional baggage on their excursion as well.  The Ritual is equal parts psychological thriller and monster movie.  The characters are multi-layered and very well-acted. The angst within themselves, as well as amongst the friends, turns the tension level on the entire movie up a notch.  Rafe Spall stands out with his brilliant portrayal of Luke, who was witness to his friend’s murder. Spall displays a wide range of emotions effectively from grief, pain, guilt, fear and anger. His performance gives real human depth to Luke. This enhances the aspect of The Ritual that works really well, the connection of the audience to the characters.  With characters that are relatable, the viewer actually cares about this group of young men and feel their fear.  Ultimately, the humanity that is lacking in many horror films, The Ritual is able to achieve. When all hell rains down on this crew, we actually care.

Based off of Norwegian mythology, The Ritual provides an eerie dark tone, with the forest itself playing a big part in film.   This film is engrossing, intricate and well-crafted by Bruckner.  With that said, it also provides the fear factor and gore for the hardcore horror fan. If you’re looking for an interesting horror film with a weighty story, do yourself a favor and check out The Ritual.

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