I had absolutely no idea on what to expect. I had read nothing about the movie, watched no trailers, the premise in the description just sounded appealing. And since it’s a horror movie, count me in! Besides, judging from the reviews of the novel of the same name by Adam Nevill on Goodreads, it could turn out great!
The setup is quite good. 5 friends from college, now grown up, plans to go on a manly vacation together. Through an accidental mishap, only the four of them ventures to the northern Sweden to hike the Kungsledan – the Kings Trail – that crosses Sweden into Norway.
The first about 30-40 minutes are actually quite good. They have a slight resemblance to The Blair Witch Project – without the stomach-turning, handheld, hellish camera work – as the group happens upon a wooden hut in the dark and mysterious Swedish woods.
From here, it takes a turn from bad to even worse. With the hint of witchcraft and visions of an unseeable beast, the Deliverance-eerie sensation turns into a bit of a bore, in the inevitable hunt for scares, that eventually just doesn’t work.
It took me a minute or two to put two and two together, probably because I was bored and annoyed with the lack of seeing the beast – which is an absolute abomination and quite nicely done, in my opinion. But long story short, my take on the nordic myth vs english blokes is, that norse mythology is quite misunderstood, and I’m not sure if Loki would grant any mortal man immortality by poking his chest.
Yes, it does turn a bit odd in the end. A little too sought for, in my opinion.
It lacks the real eerieness of its Blair Witch cousin, and unfortunately takes a few turns along the way, that put’s it up there on the not-worth-the-90-minutes-wall along with Nicolas Cages absolutely horrific ‘Wickerman’-remake.
If you’re looking for a really good horror movie, pass on ‘The Ritual’. If you are entertained by guys yelling at eachother, a half-explanied story you need to guess about to make some sense of it, or if you enjoy a very nice CGI’ed monster, then ‘The Ritual’ is for you.
I give it a solid 2 out of 5 for locations (making Romania look like Sweden), atmosphere and monster effects.