There’s something left in you after watching The Ritual. It’s not quite the same feeling when you watch a horror movie you loved so much that you can’t wait to watch again. It’s something more visceral that I can’t quite put into words just yet.
Released in its home country last October, along with a few other countries in afterward, Netflix decided to pick up the distribution for The Ritual back in September 2017. Say what you want about the average quality of Netflix’s product below the ‘tips of the iceberg,’ but it certainly gives a shot to movies, filmmakers, and actors that otherwise would have none.
Directed by David Bruckner, here at his second solo directing job, the story sees four friends going camping in Sweden to fulfill the desire of a familiar friend who was murdered in a grocery store after a guy’s night out.
Rafe Spall, who you know from being the annoying kid in all three movies of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, is the lead, who of course has the most to do with the friend’s death, in a negative kind of way as you will see.
Now, you can see The Ritual in two ways: that everything that happens is real, or that it’s just a whole, slow, descent into madness.
From one side, all the events have so much detail and coherency. Hence it’s readily acceptable that everything we saw is in fact real. On the other hand, the continuous time jump, dream and reality merging, and the fact our protagonist pretend not to hold any responsibility for his friend’s death, and those fantasy events, it makes you doubt.
I haven’t read Adam Neville’s original novel, so I don’t know if in the book the thing is more clear or there’s doubt there as well.
What of course fuel my thought everything is just madness is the creature and the closing image – while the first is fitting in both cases, the latter, as you’ll see, is at very least questionable.
I’d love to discuss more on the matter, but I’d get into spoilers, and I’d very like to avoid that.
While I firmly believe The Ritual best feature is indeed its story in both physical and metaphoric sense, it’s undeniable that we are in front of one of the best looking indie horror of the year.
The photography is entirely taking advantage of the beautiful natural setting, but at the same time, it doesn’t forget to reflect our protagonist’s state of mind correctly.
The creature is also a piece of art, as it is originally creepy, yet very realistic. Can’t describe it much, even because I wouldn’t know how, but you’ll see.
Acting wise, the one who stands out is indeed Rafe Spall. And not because the other members of the cast are not good enough, but because I have seen this guy play so many minor, one-dimensional role in a bunch of movies, which ended up sucking me in this one, as he can deliver a simple yet complex character.
Overall, The Ritual is a welcomed addition to Netflix’s library, and I hope that both David Bruckner and Joe Barton (the writer) will get another flick to do for the streaming platform. Because they sure both have potential.