Watson Reviews: The Ritual

I am going to watch way more movies in 2018 thanks to all these Netflix originals. Time for a horror entry… a cheap medium prime for Netflix production.

The Ritual follows a group of British bros who go on an annual guys’ vacation every year. While planning this year’s manly ritual (ooohhhh…that’s the name of the movie!!!), two bros wander into a liquor store that is being robbed. When one of the pals is killed, that year’s holiday, a hike through the mountains of Sweden, takes on a somber tone.

When yet another member of the crew sprains his ankle (what a bunch of Bad Luck Brians), the group decides to take a shortcut through the forest.

When ritualistic animal sacrifices and twig idols start appearing, plus… lets face it… no shortcut through the forest has EVER gone well… horror and intrigue follow.

You know there will be horror and intrigue because the music is really creepy. I mean damn is that music creepy. As with any British film, I watched it with subtitles and half the time they said “(creepy music playing)”!

The film was a passable way to spend 1:45 minutes, but nothing noteworthy. It had several unmemorable performances and paper thin, interchangeable characterization.

The plot was at times a pure narrative treadmill. You could skip ahead 15 minutes and not miss any plot points that keep you from getting the admittedly interesting action at the end of the film.

One major theme the film tried to roll out was the parallel between the lead’s inner demons associated with watching his friend die in the UK and those of the actual demons haunting the forest. It didn’t really land, but did allow for some neat scenes.

I have a tough time grading this. Horror just ain’t my bag. So it needs to be really good for me to give one high marks. This one settles for middling to poor.

The Ritual was very derivative of The Blair Witch Project; absent the found footage angle. So, at the very least, I got to enjoy the beautiful Swedish scenery with some nice wide camera angles; which is much better than seeing shaky handheld footage the woods of the Eastern United States.

Overall, I give THE RITUAL 5.5 “Gooches” out of 10.

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