Movie Review – The Ritual (2017) starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. Directed by David Bruckner.
Five blokes: Rob, Phil, Dom, Hutch, and Luke, meet in a pub to discuss going on a trip together. Ideas are presented and rejected. Rob suggests a hiking trip in the wilds of Sweden. This too is rejected. On their way home, Rob and Luke stop at a store for another bottle of booze unaware that the place is being robbed. Rob is killed while Luke hides behind a shelf, cowering. This lack of bravery will go on to hunt him for a long time to come. In Rob’s memory, they decide to take the Swedish hiking trip. After Dom falls and injures his knee, they decide the quickest way back to civilization is through the woods, off the beaten path, deep into that place where things can go terribly, terribly bad – and they do.
It’s a cliché set up, to be sure, as the quartet quickly becomes lost and falls into fighting amongst themselves. Runic inscriptions begin to appear in trees, they hear and see something stalking them, something very, very big. Mayhem ensues. Nowhere is safe. The monster is pretty damn cool, I have to admit. I’d love to see a detailed shot of this thing in full light. I’d also like to know what the hell it was beyond the vague description one of the woodland locals gives it as a bastard child of Loki. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d not be at all tempted into worshiping this thing in anyway – sorry, I value my freedom too much to be enslaved to such a being regardless of the prize.
In the end, The Ritual left me unsatisfied. I get the symbolism regarding Luke’s journey to self-forgiveness and the inner demons he was battling even as he and his friends fought for their physical and mental well-being. It was okay and suspenseful and as I said, the monster was pretty damn awesome, but I wanted more explanation as to what it was and the why’s of it all.
2 out of 5 Ravens.
The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!