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Freddy Beans is keen upon Netflix's THE RITUAL!

Hey Everyone Freddy Beans here;

Sick at home this weekend I decided to try that new horror movie on Netflix “The Ritual” based on the novel of the same name by Adam Nevill.  Boy, I am glad I did!

Its movies like this one that raise the genre of horror to more universally accepted levels.  Every single actor we’re introduced to here is more than capable of carrying their load.  Even the too short scenes with Robert (Paul Reid) carry an emotional heft that lingers throughout the duration of this film.   Put quite simply this is a monster film.  That alone doesn’t do it justice as the story has a lot of depth that raises it well above that simple trope.

David Bruckner directed this one with a confidence that’s evident from opening scene to parting shot.  David is also responsible for directing the underseen “The Signal,” a movie I really liked.  I’m pretty sure the concept was ripped off from Stephen King’s “Cell” written a year before but I got over myself as the film picks up you’re really thrown into the actions and decisions of each of the 3 main characters. He also directed “Amateur Night” a short I enjoyed from “V/H/S” and another short on Southbound I wasn’t a fan of.  “The Ritual” continues this director’s steady climb to better films.
While at its core this is a monster movie its emotional load is competently carried by a band of five friends; Phil (Ansher Ali), Luke (Rafe Spall), Robert (Paul Reid), Dom (Sam Troughton) and Hutch (Robert James Collier).  We first meet them first in a bar as they plan their next hiking/buddy trip together.  To keep the party going later they head out to a liquor store for more spirits and run into a horrible situation.  The masterful way the two actors communicate in that liquor store without any words as the horror befalls both of them, had me stuck in my seat.  It’s easy to see yourself in either of these characters shoes doing exactly as the character on screen did.  Slinking away in fear or acknowledging your friend and protecting him with silence.  It’s easy to state you’re a fighter and it’s something else entirely to be put in a situation where fighting or hiding, are your only options and hiding wins.  It’s a situation none of want to be put in and fortunately here we get to watch the horrific results from the comfy confines of our own homes. The fact that Luke was the lone friend in the liquor store when Robert passed comes into play later in the film in a very satisfying manner.
That scene ends and we open up on a trip with the remaining four friends in tow.  I have to hand it to David, there’s an incredible amount of depth given to all these characters in the first 20 minutes of this movie before the slow creep walk into the forest.  Whereupon the first thing they see is a disemboweled bear impaled high above them on a bunch of branches.  It’s unsettling and you feel the dread and fear in the actors as they contemplate turning back.  They don’t of course.
Insert impailed yogi here

I’ve stated this is a monster movie but its literally throwing everything horror here but the kitchen sink at ya.  It feels like they threw “Blair Witch Project”, “Back Country”, “The Village”, “Deliverance” and “The Wailing” into a pot and created something completely entertaining and unique grabbing slices from all those flicks.  In the end with the hodgepodge ideas shaped into a cohesive vision we’re treated to a tale of an ancient Nordic god protecting its forest in any manner it seems fit.

The cinematography is “sixth man” in this film.  Expertly setting up the foreboding story scene after scene with lush open beautiful expansive landscapes which later give way to a tight towering claustrophobic tree lined forest.  The panic cinematographer Andrew Shulkind creates with a camera is impressive, I will seek out any movies he’s involved in moving forward.  “The Vault” which has been sitting in my queue for a couple months will now get viewed after learning of his involvement.  Wish me luck!

I can’t recommend “The Ritual” enough.  There’s no denying Netflix has aced the TV series concept, they simply rule that land now.  Their independently created movies are improving at a breakneck pace now too.  The only thing I dislike about their product is I don’t have the option of viewing them on the big screen.   I would have loved to have seen “The Ritual” in a theater.  Here’s hoping in the future Netflix puts their movies in theaters for a trial run before dumping them onto their streaming site.  Maybe there’s not a big enough audience for that but I’m still hoping all the same.

8 out of 10, Swedes prefer Italian meatballs

Til next time Kids

Freddy Beans


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