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HORROR

The Ritual (2017)

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The RitualA group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.

Genre : Horror
Country : UK

Cast :
Rafe Spall : Luke
Arsher Ali : Phil
Robert James-Collier : Hutch
Sam Troughton : Dom

Director :
David Bruckner

My opinion on “The Ritual”

“He was a good man.
The best of us.
It should never have happened.
But it did…
And all we can do is remember him.
Robert, we miss you, mate.”

The Ritual” is a British horror that takes place in a Swedish forest where four friends go on a hike in honor of a deceased friend. After seeing so many films where a dark forest provides terrifying and life-threatening situations, I made a decision. I’ll never spend a weekend somewhere in a forest far from the civilized world in my life. Much too dangerous. In addition, it’s also certain that I’ll watch more of those Netflix Originals. Because these films, which are sometimes turned down by big film companies, really aren’t so bad.

The Ritual

An adventurous hike turns into a survival trip.

The Ritual“, however, wasn’t a complete success. The first part is without a doubt the most impressive. A continuous feeling of threat and desperation, because this piece of pure nature doesn’t seem to be completely deserted. Before they know it, those four city boys, Luke (Rafe Spall), Dom (Sam Troughton), Hutch (Rob James-Collier) and Phil (Arsher Ali), make some bizarre and disturbing discoveries. And this because of an incident with Dom hurting his knee. They decide to take a short cut through the woods. Due to a storm they get lost in this Scandinavian forest rather quickly. They spend the night in a deserted wooden cabin (well, cabins in the woods usually house something bad as we know) where they discover a kind of occult statue and experience a night full of frightening nightmares. And that’s the moment this adventurous hike slowly turns into a survival trip.

The Ritual

An entity and guilt feelings. That’s what’s troubling them.

It’s not only a mysterious entity these gentlemen have to worry about. Inner, personal demons are also involved. Especially Luke, who’s still troubled by guilt about the incident where Robert (Paul Reid), the fifth member of this friend’s club, lost his live. This creates surrealist delusions and you’ll see the interior of the night shop being projected into the threatening forest. And gradually, reproaches about this are also expressed by the others. The things that were never pronounced, emerge under these traumatic circumstances. And this creates an even more intense atmosphere.

The Ritual

On to the next Netflix Original.

Unfortunately, the denouement isn’t of the same level as the first part. The fact that it’s not about demonic forces (such as in “Evil Dead” or “The Blair witch Project“) but something ancient and primitive, is pretty disappointing. The final run is still exciting enough though. I thought this movie was a mix of “Razorback” and “The VVitch“. The title of the film partially explains what it is about. And to be honest, I thought the create was original and the CGI section looked professional. But despite the devilish atmosphere and the excellent camera work (without using excessive amounts of special effects), it still felt like a missed opportunity. There are a lot of situations that you’ve seen before in sortlike movies. And many stupid decisions were made even though they were (in my opinion) highly educated fellows. And finally, at some pont I thought they were kind of annoying who don’t want to work together in a constructive way. But despite everything, I certainly won’t neglect other Netflix Originals. That would be a stupid decision.

My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB

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HORROR

Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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HORROR

Choose or Die – A Miss For Netflix

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Netflix’s home page suggestions can always be hit or miss, and unfortunately its latest release ‘Choose or Die’ falls into the category of the latter. Captivated by Asa Butterfield on the poster, I was curious to see what this film had to offer and begrudgingly it didn’t have a lot.

We follow Kayla, a broke student who has a lot to deal with in terms of her family situation and being the sole provider for herself and her mum. She then stumbles upon a retro video game from the 80s which forces her to choose and ultimately leads to various chain reactions of horrific events involving people close to her.

Lola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac

The premise of the film sounds interesting, however, I think it swings and misses quite early into the film’s first act. Eddie Marsan sets the tone and trail of interest for Choose or Die as we are introduced to this sadistic game and the chain of events it will inevitably pursue. 

Choose or Die doesn’t make it easy to empathise with its characters, finding any connection to Kayla or Isaac was difficult. This ‘are they aren’t they’ subplot lingers throughout the film’s narrative but adds nothing to the overarching story. The supporting characters, such as Thea and Laura, are much more interesting and genuinely have you intrigued as to what decisions they will make.

What stood out to me was the violent and gore-like scenes of 80s horrors, with some pretty good stomach churning special effects make-up. Those intense scenes, one involving a rat, had me genuinely glued to the screen, anticipating what may happen next. Choose or Die’s strongest component are the early moral decisions Kayla has to make and ultimately demonstrate Meakin’s passion for the horror genre.

Ioanna Kimbook as Grace in Choose or Die, seen here in the diner in one of the more grotesque decisive moments for Kayla

The way in which this film is shot, felt very “student-esque” with its lackluster camera movements and setting. The set design lacked little depth, except for Isaac’s room which is full of detail, therefore making the world feel small and less three dimensional. An element which pulled me out of this cinematic experience, was the fact that this was evidently filmed in the United Kingdom, and the cast contained predominantly a lot of British actors doing an American accent so I wasn’t fully immersed into this world. 

Meakins clearly uses his passion for the horror genre to influence this film’s dark tone, from it’s leading characters’ moral compass as well as the gorey visuals that inevitably come with those decisions. The whole world feels cold and derelict, be it the place in which Kayla cleans or the housing estate of which she lives in, this is an unwelcoming world that no-one wants to comfort you in. 

Choose or Die isn’t a film that will stick out as one that defined 2022, however I’m sure someone will take something away from this film, be it’s reference to 80s gaming or the violent and graphic elements that the director is clearly passionate about. 

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HORROR

Off Season – To Premiere Exclusively on Shudder

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Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced that OFFSEASON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Friday, June 10, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, in OFFSEASON, Marie (Donahue) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.

Check out the film’s trailer below and read our review HERE as it debuted during SXSW 2021

Written and directed by Mickey Keating (Psychopaths), OFFSEASON stars Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep), Joe Swanberg (The Rental, “Easy”), Richard Brake (3 From HellMandy), Melora Walters (The Pale Door, “Pen15”) and Jeremy Gardner (After MidnightThe Mind’s Eye).

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