Forest’s are fundamentally creepy. Tall trees, unnerving noises and often no sign of civilisation in sight – a long with the thought of a crazed axe murderer lurking behind a nearby giant oak – makes the setting of The Ritual an ideal (and well trodden in the horror world) environment for some mad-bat sh*t to go down.
Starring Rafe Spall and Downton Abbey’s Rob James-Collier, David Bruckner’s middle-aged-lads-trip-gone-wrong ritualistic chiller moshes together humorous British laddish banter with an enjoyable, generally well-executed creepiness.
Most films that have a Wicker Man-vibe to it (other than THAT Nick Cage remake) get a thumbs up from me, but although The Ritual may not have the lasting effect of Robin Hardy’s classic, Bruckner’s orchestrated a film that carries – other than a flashback too far – a surprising amount of weight given its simple premise. Its scare-factor may come more from its circumstantial surroundings, but the actors give us enough variety to make us give a hoot while they slowly begin to unwind in the freaky woods.