First things first, The Ritual is a film unlikely to have been endorsed by the Swedish Tourist Board. Director David Bruckner has essentially delivered a by the numbers yet reasonably effective horror movie based on Adam Nevill’s acclaimed novel, which sees four friends go hiking in Sweden to commemorate a dear departed friend, tragically murdered.
But as the weather conditions become more adverse, and the friends begin to bicker, tensions then start to flare. But for once, these guys are no fools. The highly unwise decision to cut through a wooded valley is taken knowingly, and by the time they come across strange carvings and mutilated animals, well the lads are well aware that they’re in deep doo doo.
Rafe Spall commendably leads the cast as Luke, a man haunted by his past actions, (or to be more precision past inaction) when his friend was robbed and then murdered in front of him, while Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali and Sam Troughton all give strong support as the fellow uni mates.
Bruckner paces the film nicely and gradually ups the ante, but in truth there are few surprises as the four friends are forced to confront their worst fears in the forest. The Ritual is certainly at its best when there is that fear of the unknown, and as the group fall prey to paranoia and bickering, but unfortunately, by the time it comes around, it is the denouement that is something of a let down. Nevertheless, thanks to its cracking cast and snappy dialogue, The Ritual is still well worth a watch and does far more than simply go through the motions.
Cast: Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali, Sam Troughton Director: David Bruckner Writer: Joe Barton, Adam Nevill (novel) Released By: eOne Certificate: 15 Duration: 94 mins Release Date: 12th February 2017