They should’ve gone to Vegas! Our critic Josh Burford reviews eerie horror-thriller The Ritual

The Ritual

The Ritual (15) tells the story of a group of friends who go hiking in a remote part of Sweden to honour their recently deceased friend. But when they try to take a shortcut to decrease the length of their journey, they encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.

This is going to be a short and sweet review as I don’t want to spoil anything. I went into this one knowing pretty much next to nothing. I saw one trailer and that’s it. Whilst it doesn’t break any new ground in terms of horror, The Ritual wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

The setting is undeniably eerie. The first part of the film sees our characters getting lost in the woods, here they encounter strange noises and come across some creepy things. The woods were a great setting and it gives you a very strange and unnerving vibe. The director did a great job of capturing the sense of isolation. Long extensive shots slowly zooming in on the trees made you want to scan every inch of the screen, tense stuff.

The acting was great. Our four characters all exchange witty banter, making their relationships feel very believable. Luke (Rafe Spall) is the most fleshed out character. After witnessing the death of his friend, Luke suffers an incredible amount of guilt as he feels he should have done something to protect his friend instead of hide. Spall did a fantastic job of portraying the “quiet and reserved” type, you can see how this dark event has changed and impacted him and I thought he did very well.

Although there are some genuinely creepy moments and unsettling imagery, I wouldn’t say any of it was scary. The creepier parts come from what you don’t see as opposed to what you do. I’m trying to avoid spoiling too much. The second half switches gear a bit and does deliver some tense, edge-of-your-seat moments.

This film has a lot of charm and humour but it’s not a comedy, don’t expect Zombieland levels of humour but it’s still quite amusing in parts. One downside I did find with the movie is that I found myself leaving the cinema with unanswered questions, maybe you’ll agree if you go see this one.

Overall, I enjoyed The Ritual, it does a good job of selling the creepy setting and the acting is solid all-round. It could have done with some scarier moments and the pace slows down a bit in the middle. Not bad, but adds nothing new to the horror genre.

My rating: 6/10

About the Author

Josh Burford
Trainee journalist at Highbury College with a passion for film and TV.