A group of old friends go hiking in the wilderness of Northern
Sweden, only to encounter a strange creature that is hunting them.
The Ritual (2017)
Directed by David Bruckner
Written by Joe Barton
Starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Coller,
Sam Troughton, Paul Reid, Maria Erwolter
Based on the novel by Adam Nevill
Having recently watched David Bruckner's The Night House, I was curious whether the film's problems were an isolated incident or indicative of a larger problem. Based on a friend's recommendation, I checked out the Netflix original The Ritual. This film was a far better effort, and made me think the fault of The Night House likely rests with the writers. The Ritual explores the dark, relatively unknown mythology of the old Norse gods, particularly pagan sacrifice. With great characters, perfect atmosphere, and so many heart-stopping moments, The Ritual is one of Netflix's best original horror films.
Following the shocking murder of a friend, four old college buddies go on holiday to Northern Sweden, to explore a mountain and visit some hiking trails. After one of them has an accident and injures his knee, they're forced to take a shortcut through the forest. Pretty soon, they come across an old cabin filled with old runes and some deity statue. What follows is a brutal race against the gods themselves, as they are hunted down by a monstrous creature somehow connected to the witchcraft stuff they keep finding. In the end, two survivors end up in an isolated village that worships this creature, and the chances of escape are low. The entire movie maintains this ghoulish atmosphere and perfect sense of total isolation. Plus, you like the characters, and that makes the death scenes even harder to watch.
The Ritual is a great watch for a camping trip, but also just a solid horror film. It's reminiscent of The Witch and The Wicker Man, but with a bit of Predator in there as well. I've always enjoyed monster movies, and it's hard to find good ones these days. The Ritual is definitely a good one.