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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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Shauna Macdonald Stars in Intense ‘White Chamber’

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Dark Sky Films is releasing the UK’s hit ‘White Chamber’ which stars Shauna Macdonald, and directed by Paul Raschid, and officially arrives on VOD on March 29th.

According to the official synopsis:

“Civil war rages, and martial law has been declared by a military government hellbent on squashing the opposition. A woman (MacDonald) wakes up in a blindingly white cuboid cell, where General Zakarian (The Mummy and Resident Evil: Extinction‘s Oded Fehr) uses increasingly sophisticated and cruel methods to torture her for information – information she claims not to have. As questions of trust are placed both on captor and captive, they find themselves embroiled in an increasingly spiraling journey into the nature of authority.”

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New ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ TV Spot

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Need some more monster mayhem in your life? If you do, then the new TV Spot from ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ will give you your fix.

Michael Dougherty’s highly anticipated summer blockbuster starring
Zhang Ziyi, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Bradley Whitford, Ken Watanabe, Thomas Middleditch, Charles Dance and Aisha Hinds officially arrives on May 28th.

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Luke Jaden’s ‘Boo!’ Launches New Trailer

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Luke Jaden’s ‘Boo!’, which caused a buzz on the festival circuit, is set to release overseas on February 28th via Front Row Filmed Entertainment and a new trailer has arrived to hype up fans.

Starring Jaden Piner, the films’ synopsis states: “BOO! follows a family that battles an unseen force as they soon realize they must band together in order to stop the unimaginable terror.”

Jill Marie Jones, Aurora Perrineau, Charley Palmer Rothwell, Dwight Henry, and Rob Zabrecky star in the film as well, which currently does not have a US release date.

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