The Ritual — 10 Movies in 10 Days: TIFF 2017 Review

The Mob’s Reel has been gracious enough to host Mobster, Curtis Morgan's TIFF 2017 review. As an actor and film buff, Curtis braved this years red carpet to bring you spoiler-free reviews on the 10 films he saw at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.


The tagline for this Andy Serkis produced movie is “They should have gone to Vegas.”  Four friends go on a trip to the Scandinavian wilderness as a tribute to their late fifth friend who was brutally murdered in a liquor store robbery in front of one of the four played craftily by Rafe Spall (Roadies, Prometheus, Life Of Pi).  Prior to the murder, the friends were out having a pint and discussing various vacations they should go on.  The soon-to-be-deceased friend suggested hiking through the forests of some obscure area in Northern Europe.  After his death, a year later, the remaining four decided to go on the trip that he suggested.  They get lost.  They have to go through this dark vast forest instead of around it to get to safety after one of them falls and gets injured.  Their first night in the forest, they find this strange abandoned shack, surrounded by trees that have ancient symbols carved into them.  Due to a torrential downpour, they take shelter in the shack for the night, they wake up the next morning with each of them in unique states of disarray.  The horror ensues.

This is your typical lost in the wilderness horror flick, complete with a creature, guilt-induced hallucinations, ancient vikings and other horrible things.  It does it’s job to scare you.  It has solid thrills, decent special effects, and is well acted for the most part.

To me though, it had too many similarities to the ultimate lost in the wilderness horror flick, The Blair Witch Project.  The only real differences were that it is not shot in first person, and the climax has a lot more context, as improbable as it is.  I mean it has context in the sense that the audience comes to discover what is happening to the the men.  However, the audience never really learns why or how the horrific situation came to be.  Maybe it’s not as important as what is happening to them.  This movie does it’s job as a legit horror flick, and if you are looking for a scare around Hallowe’en, a double bill of The Ritual and Downrange will not disappoint.

The Ritual gets 3/5 stars.

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