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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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Takashi Shimizu’s ‘Howling Village’ Unveils Trailer

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Howling Village

Known as the creator of the Japanese ‘Ju-On’ series, that spawned ‘The Grudge’ franchise in the United States, Takashi Shimizo has a new offering based on a Japanese urban legend.

In ‘Howling Village’, which will release in Japan on February 7th, 2020, “The film centers on a village at the end of a forgotten tunnel from which no one has ever returned alive. A dam was built over it in an effort to erase the past, but the film looks into where the people went, what happened to them, and why the place is called Howling Village.”

“The heroine who sees the spirit tries to find out the truth of the strange events that occur one after another.”

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Trailer for Horror-Comedy ‘Two Heads Creek’ Drops

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Two Heads Creek

Not every family reunion is full of good memories, fun, and love, just ask Jesse O’Brien’s horror-comedy ‘Two Heads Creek’.

According to the rundown: “Jordan Waller writes and stars in this dark comedy horror about a couple of siblings who leave post-Brexit England to find their birth mother in outback Australia, only to discover a town full of bloodthirsty oddballs, played by Helen Dallimore, Gary Sweet, Kerry Armstrong, Kevin Harrinton and Don Bridges. Coming to cinemas in November.”

You can check out the trailer below:

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Family Falls Apart in ‘Kindred Spirits’ Trailer

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Kindred Spirits

Lucky McKee is one of the more popular indie filmmakers, known for his work on films such as ‘May’ and ‘The Woman’, and his new film looks to be another solid showing.

‘Kindred Spirits’ starring Thora Birch, Macon Blair, and Caitlin Stasey, the film tells the story of “A successful single mother’s carefree sister reappears out of the blue one day to stay with her and her teenage daughter.”

You can check out the trailer below:

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