By Michael Chintalan
Netflix has come out with a lot of original content when it comes to movies or shows. There are plenty of good, and also a generous amount of bad, when it comes to the selection of content on Netflix.
Horror films are more or less a rarity when it comes to originality and it is hard to find a good film in the genre that is plagued by cheesy remakes and awful attempts at being scary.
Luckily, “The Ritual” is a wonderfully done film that makes awful tropes considerably more fascinating.
It may not be the most original of films, but it was a step away from the norms of the horror genre and brought in a little mythology as well.
The movie begins with the death of a man named Rob in a liquor store after he refuses to hand over his wedding ring to two robbers.
His friend, Luke, was also inside the store because he wanted to talk with Rob and buy vodka. He managed to hide from the robbers and blames himself for the death of his friend since he hadn’t taken action.
This haunts him throughout the movie and is used fairly well, but it changes overtime and actually leads to good character development.
Six months after Rob’s death, the group of five- now down to four- friends head out on a hiking trip in northern Sweden to honor their dead friend.
One of the four, Dom, injures his knee and causes the group to make a fast hike through a forest to get to their destination. This is the first horror cliche that plagues many films.
Isolation from society is used plentiful in horror films and is also used within “The Ritual.”
In the mountains there is no cell reception or people to come to the group’s aid.
This is almost unavoidable with the horror genre though because it creates a sort of tension since the protagonists have no one to rely on but themselves. It helps bring out the true nature in characters since it challenges their knowledge and tests how resilient they are in the face of true fear.
It was not badly done and the cinematography conveyed isolation perfectly, along with showing scenery that captures the eye; lush forests, tall trees, and beautiful shots even at night.
It is similar to “Blair Witch” but excels in not making viewers sick with shaking cameras and the dreaded found footage trope.
Combining a character in the clutches of a tragic event with a forest that seemingly has no end is not the only wonderful aspects of “The Ritual.” The monster that lurks in the woods is stunningly well done if compared to most modern horror films.
Without spoiling the grand reveal, only bits of the monster are shown quickly every now and then in the movie. It does not rely heavily on jumpscares and the design of the monster is done so well that it makes this worth a watch for those who enjoy monster flicks.
The plot itself is somewhat decent and the use of Luke’s trauma makes for some great shots where reality mixes with imagination. What is also unforgettable is the actual usage of Scandinavian mythology and the use of symbolism to tease as to what the monster is.
Overall, the film is not the best of the horror genre, but it is certainly worth a watch compared to most recent horror films. Horror fans should not pass this up and it surely won’t leave them disappointed.
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