PLOT: After the murder of their friend, a group of guys take a hiking trip to the wilderness of Sweden, but stumble upon an evil they were not expecting.
The Ritual is a satisfying movie, to be sure, but there are a lot of beats that this movie hits that feel very similar to The Descent. It’s not the worst thing in the world to remind me of that film, but I can’t say that this movie does anything that movie does any better. The comparisons are a bit at face value, assuredly, so it didn’t make me dislike the movie. Looking past all that, the movie itself manages to straddle the horror with the emotional beats quite well.
After their buddy dies in a liquor store robbery, a group of guys that have been friends since college use a trip to the Swedish wilderness as an excuse to pay him respects. But as they get further into the forest, they guys happen upon a house that seems to be the place of something more sinister than they could’ve imagined. As the rain pours down and reality starts to play tricks on them, it’s up to them to put aside hidden animosities in order to survive.
It’s a solid film with strong performances all around from its leads. Rafe Spall is a standout, as he has to juggle the guilt of his friend’s death as well as the inherent need to rise to the occasion when his life is put on the line; it’s ultimately a story of redemption for his character, and he does a convincing job.
The Ritual kind of molds The Descent and The Blair Witch Project into a sort of composite film, but it’s a strong film regardless of what it feels like. The movie manages to create believable real-world drama and mix it with some fantastical elements. I thought this would be scarier, to be honest, but I still had a good time with it.
OVERALL Rating: 7 out of 10