I’m delighted to read this reaction, as John has recommended so many horror films to me, via his reviews, that I’ve lapped up and I always value his insights.
The good doctor has spoken.
“Film No. 455. Adam Nevill’s novel THE RITUAL is a modern masterpiece of grim, wet, miserable, claustrophobic horror, so much so that he’s one of only two authors whose work has given me the shivers here in the cosy confines of Probert Towers. It’s scarcely surprising, then, that David Bruckner’s movie version doesn’t quite manage to achieve the almost unbearable tension of the book’s opening two thirds. It still manages to do a pretty decent job, mind, and the final act is really rather good, especially the ending. Fascinatingly (for me if no-one else), the novel feels very Algernon Blackwood-inspired (the forest IS the monster, and an absolutely terrifying one) whereas the movie feels much more Arthur Machen – the forest is more a home to an ancient people who leave mystic symbols carved into the bark as part of the obeisance to their own Great (Scandinavian) God Pan. Look at that – a Machen, Blackwood and Nevill-inspired horror film playing at your local cinema! What are you waiting for??!!!”
For a really good horror film reviewing site checkout John’s House of Mortal Cinema here