The Ritual


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Ritual
"Fear is a delicate emotion. It's not what you see, it's what you think you are going to see."

Little Red Riding Hood understood that walking to Granny's through the forest is a risky business. Trees gang up. They say, who is this undersized coloured person interfering with our lives? Let's give her the windy dark rustle snap whoosh treatment.

Trees don't talk. That's rubbish for a start. Trees don't have feelings, or opinions, or the ability to make people scream. Or do they?

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The Ritual starts off in a pub in the city where a bunch of ex-uni mates are planning a hiking hols, or any kind of getaway loose boweled gross out in someone else's country where they can behave like bum rags and drink too much (all the time), hopefully avoiding a Weinstein moment with one of the bar staff.

So far so yesterday.

There are hiking trails now in areas of the world where adventure students would have been warned off by ruddy faced rangers in the old days. That's progress. It's called extreme tourism, or mentally deranged masochism.

These guys sign up for a Sweden to Norway walk through the wilderness. It seems surprising that they didn't opt for Ibiza.

One of them twists his ankle. He's the whiner, the fatty who can't run five yards without farting. The others have to make a decision in the cold light of sobriety whether to carry on the way they are meant to go or make a detour through the woods because it's quicker.

They choose the Red Riding Hood. And you know what that means because you have been here before in Texas Chainsaw reboots where the prospects of survival are limited to the length of the movie.

The difference this time is not another Wrong Turn where inbred cannibals lunch off the supporting cast but a mini Jonestown community that worships an ancient beast and live in the deep forest without access to a supermarket. This fabled creature makes a brief appearance due to limited resources and it is left to the sound department to scare vulnerable 15-year-olds into handing over their brains.

Fear is a delicate emotion. It's not what you see, it's what you think you are going to see. The Ritual is off the peg. What it lacks in imagination it gains in recognition. No surprises then?

They should have gone to Ibiza.

Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2017
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The Ritual packshot
A group of ex-university friends take a hiking holiday in Nordic Noir country. Ooo er... (Swedish for "Cripes!")
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Read more The Ritual reviews:

Jennie Kermode ***

Director: David Bruckner

Writer: Joe Barton, based on the novel by Adam Nevill

Starring: Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali, Sam Troughton, Maria Erwolter, Kerri McLean, Paul Reid, Jacob James Beswick, Francesca Mula

Year: 2017

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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