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REVIEW: The Ritual

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Netflix’s ‘The Ritual’ is one of a series of horror flicks over the past year that have made a buzz and I took Saturday night to dive into the 2017 film.

According to the film’s synopsis: “Reuniting after the tragic death of their friend, four college pals 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 every turn.”

First off, I love that Netflix is ahead of the curve of sorts in presenting movies in 4K. As an owner of a 4K television I find my options limited with cable and find myself turning to Netflix more and more to unlock the full power of my tv.

So, if you’re like me, The Ritual will be visually appealing. The landscapes are simply beautiful.

The movie is shot in such a way that it makes you truly feel like the group of friends are all along in the forest and that something ominous is lurking.

It’s a bit slow moving at times, mainly after the opening scene that shows their friend dying, but once things pick up, the momentum hardly slows down.

It reminds you of “The Blair Witch Project”, but shows just how far the industry has come since that epic movie with the odd ending. The Ritual gives you a similar feeling that what the characters are experiencing is eerie and unsettling.

The main character, Luke, remains in a battle of the guilt he feels over the death of the group’s friend Robert, who died in a story robbery that Luke survived, but did nothing to help his friend in his final moments, instead opting to stay in hiding to ensure his own safety.

Luke battles this guilt throughout the movie and the dark entity latches on to it, using it as a weapon to torment Luke.

Sadly the depth of the story is fairly shallow. There is no real effort to develop a friendship between the 4 main characters, who seem thrown together in the forest.

If not for the setting and the way the film was shot, the story would complete anchor this film to depths of mediocrity that would potentially bore viewers.

When the dark force, which is kept under wraps for most of the movie (kudos), finally appears the film fails to setup a backstory for it, nor does it set up a backstory for the people who worship this diety.

That failure really sets the film back as it leaves a lot of meat on the bone and leaves the viewer feeling unsatisfied with the presentation.

Is the film bad? No. But it’s hard calling it ‘good’ when the story, which starts off solid and has it’s moments, seems thrown together at times, lazy in a lot of ways.

Had this been a traditional ghost story, the film probably could have gotten away with being so simplistic in it’s approach to story telling.

But when you add in a “God”, mystic powers, worship ceremonies, special powers, ritual markings and a cult-like society of forest dwellers, the you owe it to the audience to delve deeper, even if it means adding an additional 30 minutes onto the film.

The Ritual is worth a watch but leaves you feeling it could have been so much more.

Fright Nerd Score
60 frights
Summary
The Ritual is worth a watch but leaves you feeling it could have been so much more.
Fright Nerd Score60

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Eli Roth-Produced ‘Haunt’ Arrives in September

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haunt

‘Haunt’, which is a new film produced by Eli Roth and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the writing team behind ‘A Quiet Place’, has dropped a new trailer ahead of it’s arrival.

‘Haunt’ is set to make it’s world premier at Popcorn Frights, and will head to theaters on September 13th.

According to the synopsis: “On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some monsters are real.”

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A Haunted Ship Sets Sail in ‘Mary’

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Mary

RLJE Films has dropped a trailer for ‘Mary’, which they recently acquired and have slated for release in theaters, and on digital and VOD on October 11th.

Starring Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer, the movie tells the tale of:

“David (Oldman) is a struggling blue-collar captain looking to make a better life for his family. Strangely drawn to an abandoned ship that is up for auction, David impulsively buys the boat, believing it will be his family’s ticket to happiness and prosperity. But soon after they embark on their maiden journey, strange and frightening events begin to terrorize David and his family, causing them to turn on one another and doubt their own sanity. With tensions high, the ship drifts off course, and it becomes horrifyingly clear that they are being lured to an even greater evil out at sea.”

Check out the official trailer below:

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‘Holiday Hell’ Tells Four Tales This Holiday Season

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Holiday Hell

Who doesn’t need a bit of horror around the holidays?

This November, ‘Holiday Hell’ will arrive in limited theaters and on VOD and DVD, and the Jeffrey Combs starring film will introduce four tales of horror, all packed in one film.

According to the synopsis: ” A mysterious shopkeeper narrates four horror tales, each set during a different holiday. “

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