Director: David Bruckner
Writers: Joe Barton, Adam Nevill (novel)
Stars: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier
Plot: A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.
Run Time: 94 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.3
Why I Watched it: Trailer looked good and of course it’s horror.
Random Thoughts: One thing you have to give Netflix is they give you content. One thing I want is variety and you have to like Netflix for dipping head first into genre and we’re getting some interesting titles.
One quick note not so much about this movie but marketing in general, is it me or is poster art dying, we now live in a world where the whole movie is given away in the trailer but we get bland and boring posters, you go to IMDB and see the poster for The Ritual and you see trees, are we suppose to assume trees and woods mean scary?
What I liked: The set up is decent and the location, Sweden and more importantly the Swedish woods is a place we don’t see that often in brings in something new and foreign. We know in they were in America they’d have to deal with hillbillies but in Sweden we’re not sure. The woods are filmed well you get how big it is and the most important part how easy it would be to get lost. Dread is set up early but I will say the slow build works for the first part and setting up that we really don’t know what’s going on build suspense.
There’s one really good scare sequence when they get to a cabin and weird crap happens to everyone, what I liked about that was it was a set up not the main scare and it unsettles everything and the fact that all four of the men had something weird or disturbing happen really sets things in motion. You really get the sense of fear, and that’s the thing I like the most about this film, they really set hit the fear of being lost, sure there’s the horror element but there’s something that is very scary about being lost in a strange place and the film nails that.
The acting is solid throughout I really liked Robert James-Collier, he’s the standout for me cause he plays a guy who tries to remain calm and tries not to do the standard bickering, he’s looking for a way out and he knows the longer it takes the more the group will split, also we shows he’s scared as well but feels the best thing to do is not panick and just get the hell out.
What I didn’t Like: This is pretty much The Blair Witch Project in the Swedish woods minus the shaky cam. Four guys get lost and the bicker and fight, yup. Now in the trailer there was a couple of moments where it seemed like the film had a sense of humor but not so much in the film itself, it is so heavy and so bagged down with melodrama that at times it’s really boring. The film also does something that can be fatal for a horror film, they drag out what or who is after them and the longer it goes on the more you get the sense that once we see the whatever it is it’ll be a huge let down and it was.
Sure the film builds suspense but it often goes nowhere, we get a scary moment and then five minutes of arguing and blaming of who’s fault it is, if there’s one horror cliche besides the group splitting up it’s the bickering and infighting, good golly that is boring to watch. What it also does is make most of the main character unlikable and here I think is the film’s biggest flaw the main characters left near the end aren’t that likable and really i didn’t care what happened to them. The also use the cheap heat at the beginning, something terrible happens to a mutual friend, now does that have wait to the rest of the story not so much it’s used as another reason to fight. The other problem is the characters are not drawn our at all, I can’t even call them cliches cause we don’t know enough about them, I mean I knew two were married and that’s it, so it’s hard to care about their plight. I mean were watching four people lost in the woods, we care why?
The ending was silly for me, I will say the first sight of the thing after them made me almost laugh it did look better after, we never get a true sense of what this thing is, sure of course we get the cliched scene of two of them getting captured and being told things, but it’s pretty lazy.
Final Thoughts: Not terrible, the atmosphere was good, the woods were scary I just wish they put some effort in fleshing out the characters.