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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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New Trailer for ‘The Cleaning Lady’ Is Here

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A brand new trailer for Jon Knautz’s ‘The Cleaning Lady‘ has arrived ahead of it’s release from RLJE Films on June 4th.

According to the synopsis:

“On the surface, Alice seems like a woman who has it all: a gorgeous apartment, a booming career, a stunning physique, and a handsome boyfriend. The only problem is he’s married to someone else. Looking for a way to simplify her life, Alice hires Shelly to cleanher house. As Alice begins to confide in Shelly about her illicit affair, their friendship grows… and so does Shelly’s twisted obsession with her new employer. It soon becomes clear that Shelly has motives that reach further than a normal cleaning lady. Shelly wants to cleanse Alice’s entire life and will stop at nothing until she’s done.“

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New Clip of ‘Starfish’ Is Released

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A brand new clip for the upcoming horror film from Yellow Veil Pictures and 1091 Media’s ‘Starfish has arrived ahead of it’s reelased on VOD and Digital on May 28th.

The clip arrives courtesy of Bloody Disgusting:

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‘Slaughterhouse Rulez’ Arrives May 17th

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Last year, ‘Slaughterhouse Rules’ launched in the UK starring Simor Pegg and Nick Frost, who you know from films such as Shaun of the Dead, and it has finally made it’s way to the United States.

The film will arrive in select theaters and on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on June 18th, and to promote the film’s arrival, a new trailer has arrived.

According to the synopsis:

“Welcome to Slaughterhouse, an elite boarding school where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness…and they’re about to meet their match. This ancient and ordered world is about to be shaken to its foundations – literally – when a controversial frack site on prized school woodland causes seismic tremors, a mysterious sinkhole and an unspeakable horror is unleashed. Soon a new pecking order will be established as pupils, teachers and the school matron become locked in a bloody battle for survival.”

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