"Makes you feel insignificant, right?"
"Speak for yourself.”
“Come on, man, where’s your soul? These mountains were smashed out by Nordic gods with big bastard hammers!”
David Bruckner’s The Ritual is the latest in the long and (un)hallowed line of horror films that warn us that man was not meant to traipse through the deep, dark woods.
You may recognize Bruckner as a ¡Qué horror! regular, having been on the rundown three previous times--in 2008, on the inaugural online ¡Qué horror! list (for his “transmission” in The Signal); in 2012 (for his contribution to V/H/S, “Amateur Night”); and in 2016 (for his contribution to Southbound, “The Accident”*).
So if you’re keeping tabs, then it becomes quite clear that The Ritual is Bruckner’s first feature film that’s in the running for a ¡Qué horror! slot, and a solid title it is.
Working with a script by Joe Barton (who’s written for Humans), based in turn on the novel by Adam Nevill, Bruckner gives us a tense nailbiter that follows four friends from university, as they hike Kungsleden (“King’s Trail”), running between Sweden and Norway, a vacation that turns out to be a terrible decision, as indicated by the tagline displayed on the quad above.
Bruckner and company** kill it with this one…
“Well, this is clearly the house we get murdered in.”
* Or, alternately, “Accident”. (Even on the official Dark Sky Films website, it’s referred to by both titles…)
** Amongst the film’s executive producers, the one and only Andy Serkis.
(The Ritual UK quad courtesy of empireonline.com.)