Rafe Spall stars in an efficient horror film with obvious hints of Deliverance and The Blair Witch Project
The Ritual is an efficient, well-made if programmatic Brit horror, with good effects and a big monstrous reveal intelligently withheld. It is adapted by Joe Barton from a 2011 bestseller by Adam Nevill, and directed by David Bruckner – who worked on the very interesting and creepy compilation movie V/H/S.
A group of guys go on a hiking weekend in a remote Swedish wood – they are Luke (Rafe Spall), Hutch (Rob James-Collier, who deserves more than to be known only as Mr Barrow from Downton Abbey), Phil (Arsher Ali) and Dom (Sam Troughton). They’ve been mates since uni and going away together is a tradition with them. But one of the gang is missing, having been killed during a robbery in a late-night shop after one of their lads’ nights out, while Luke cringed invisibly in a separate aisle, leaving his mate to face the robbers alone. So this whole trip is a sort of propitiatory adventure, offered up glumly to their dead friend’s memory while trying not to talk (or think) about his death being Luke’s fault.