If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my 34 years on this earth, it’s that we should never, ever go into the woods.
Any place where there’s a whole lot of wilderness and not a lot of people.
It… it… never ends well.
Filmmakers have been trying to remind us of this fact for years – but we haven’t bloody listened to them.
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They gave us Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn and Wolf Creek – movie after movie of people being hunted by inbred killer families and sociopathic lone wolves – and still we persisted. We still went into the goddamn woods.
Now Netflix has had to step in. They just dropped their latest original horror movie called The Ritual to scare the heck out of us and keep us out of the motherflippin’ woods.
The Ritual stars Rafe Spall (Black Mirror), Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey), Arsher Ali (Doctor Who) and Sam Troughton (AVP: Alien vs. Predator) as four British university friends who reunite to mourn the loss of their mate, by taking a hike in the Scandinavian wilderness.
Which sounds lovely… but it’s the woods so no good can come of it.
Things get a lil’ creepy when one of the hikers injures his ankle and the group decide to take a shortcut through a dense and spooky-looking forest.
Which is all well and good… except the forest isn’t any ordinary forest. It’s a dark and mysterious forest of Norse legend, where an ancient evil still exists and stalks them at every turn.
Yep, they’ve really turned up the dial on the whole ‘predator in the woods’ theme.
Instead of being hunted by a group of inbred serial killers, the friends are stalked and killed off one-by-one by a Nordic god.
An other-worldly being who takes over their dreams and uses their biggest fears against them. A creature so big and so powerful they don’t really stand a chance against it.
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The Ritual is not your average horror movie. It’s like The Blair Witch Project meets Deliverance meets Hanya Yanagihara’s best-selling novel, A Little Life.
It takes classic horror movie troupes and flips them on their head. It’s less scary and more… unsettling.
Rather than a horror movie, it’s a story about friendship and guilt and redemption – and the horrifying realisation that sometimes bad things happen to good people.
But first and foremost – it’s timely reminder that we should never, ever go into the woods.
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