TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘The Ritual’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2017 by - September 09, 2017
TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘The Ritual’

Four male friends hiking through uncharted woods serves plenty of terrifying potential in The Ritual; throw in some trauma, a murderous cult, and witty banter, and this British horror film hits all the marks.

When one member of a quintet of longtime and now middle-aged buddies dies a tragic death – with some guilt thrown in – the remaining group decides to carry on their vacation plans in his honour. The fallen’s suggestion was a trek through the norweigan mountainside, and unfortuantely for the men, not Ibiza.

It’s not long before they are halfway through their journey when one injuries an ankle, and a decision to make a beeline through rarely traveled thicket and not the circuitous well-worn path is made. It is there where, not surprisingly, the horrors slowly begin, as they find curiously massacred animals, a nightmarish cabin, and something – something big. But that reveal has to wait.

The Ritual, like the best of horror films, triumphs because of its execution. Thoroughly tense and utterly uncomfortable, the film does well enough to make us care about those involved and uncertain enough of what exacting is happening and what’s to come. It’s not at all original, and having it be an all-male adventure makes it rather uninspired and predictable in terms of the dynamic, but the terror still exists.

It leans heavily upon the guilt angle, which adds a welcome layer of investment, while maintaining the horror even after the mystery is revealed.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.