Friday, October 26, 2018

31 Days of Halloween - Day 26 - Movie 1

After the death of a member of their group, four men go for a long hike in northern Sweden in his honor. After one of the men is hurt, they decide to take a short cut through the forest, where unsettling events begin to accrue, especially after they take refuge in a seemingly abandoned house with a weird effigy in its upper floor. They now seem marked by some sort of immense creatures inhabiting the forest, and as they seek for a way out, their interpersonal relationships begin breaking down making the experience more fraught with danger, and more intense.

The Ritual (2017), based on the novel by Adam Nevill is a smart horror film that takes advantage of its sinister, claustrophobic setting to amplify the tension. The forest is so densely packed with trees that not only is visibility limited, but there are times when the mysterious creature is in view and you still can't really see it for the trees. The creature itself is pretty great in a weird design that suggests something both natural and majestic and something supernatural and impossible in its design.

The plot itself is a pretty familiar one, but while the characters often make decisions that are bad ones, it's not out of lazy writing. The decision to make the short cut in the first place is a rational one, as are decisions to abandon following a direct compass driven route through the forest in order to follow an obvious path. The cast is really strong playing their characters who may sit pretty close to being archetypes, are also well rounded and authentic.

I've watched this a couple of times already and am sure to revisit it more times in the future.

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