The Ritual is a folklore horror drama from David Bruckner, shot in the United Kingdom and Sweden. It is adapted from the 2011 novel of the same name from Adam Nevill. It stars Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali and Sam Troughton in main roles. the movie hinges on Nordic mythology, its ritualistic beliefs and has elements of a typical Scandinavian tragedy, inspired into movies such as Midsommar and Hereditary.
The Ritual revolves around a group of friends in their middle thirties who decide to take on a mountain trekking trip in the wilderness of Sweden following the untimely death of their friend. Luke, Rob, Phil, Hutch and Dom have been close friends from university and get drinks from a bar making plans for adventure trips. All family men at their age, Luke, wants to get another bottle of alcohol home from the store and takes Rob with him. A robbery is in progress in the store and they are stuck between the armed intruders. While Rob is left to face them, Luke hides and arms himself with a bottle. Rob is struck down by the robbers and is bleeding to his death, but Luke spent the entire time deciding what to do.
A while passes, the group reach the top of a peak and take a sip of a drink as homage to the late Rob. They look down the mountain, mapping their trek down back to the lodge they were staying in when Dom trips over and hurts his knee badly. This forces the group to choose a shortcut, passing right through the deep, thick wilderness in front of them. As they begin their perilous journey, there are eerie signs of something sinister aloof. They come across a strange house, abandoned and dark, where they are forced to stay the night because of bad weather. What unfurls is the strangest set of occurrences that set the tone of the film from then on, with plenty of jump scares, mind-blowing and sheer awe of what actually is ‘The Ritual’.
The Ritual is a movie that is unlike other horror cinema. It is more oriented in its folk aspect and geographical myth that horror is rarely addressed. Granted, it is a roller-coaster of scary scenes, but the director infuses intimidation as a side dish to the main course that is excitement.
The background score is unnerving and dead vacuum at other moments. It perfectly dictates the mood and tone of the particular scene, and has a command over the elements on screen.
The acting from Rafe Spall and his support cast doesn’t miss the mark. They seem to be delusional for the fact that it was a movie, and by their acting, one might think it wasn’t acting at all. The director also maintains the mystery throughout the movie, from the colors used, setting and also lighting and cinematography. We see that the storyline is kept in the shadows till the climax, and the myth is very well consummated into the plot.
Why watch The Ritual?
Everyone should watch this movie because it shows the other side of Norse mythology, which not only focuses on supernatural superiority, but of the superiority of your personal human self. The movie is a discovery of a character, the challenges he overcomes and the guilt he shrugs aside and we must commend Spall on nailing this to perfection. Anyone looking for a good gripping story with a dark undertone must most definitely check this piece of art out, and for the other we have the romantic-drama series Modern Love for some light-hearted entertainment.