Lovely notice from Hollywood News, and a more considered take on the point of the book and film – to explore new ideas in a recognisable horror situation.
“why would anybody want to check out The Ritual, a British film that shoves some men into the Swedish woods? It takes from The Wicker-Man, The Descent, The Blair Witch Project, and Deliverance, with a bit of monster movie thrown in – meaning it’s far from original. So why go and see it? Because it’s bloody brilliant and genuinely terrifying … The entire film is a look at masculinity, so shoving a bunch of adult men in their mid-thirties into the woods in roles usually left for promiscuous teenagers really adds to the fear, as these are not people we want to see slaughtered for inventive deaths and gore. They are real friends whose pasts bring both joy and tension to one another. It’s this dramatic focus that powers the film forward and increases the sense of dread.”
“Yes, Bruckner’s latest effort is yet another entry in the impressively long list of ‘lost in the forest being chased by a monster’ films, but before anyone loses interest too soon, it should be noted that a good director will always be capable of taking the familiar and making it just as engaging, if not more so, than the previous hundreds of times. Luckily, David Bruckner is one such filmmaker, and his latest endeavour is a tension-filled, mostly thrilling escapade with a generally compelling theme running throughout — which is typically what the best horror films strive for other than just audience shrieks and ghoulish surprises.”
“An adaptation of Adam Nevill’s novel of the same name, The Ritual does not re-invent the wheel. Instead, it uses the now pretty typical trope of ‘getting lost in the woods’ as a venue to tell a more psychological story. With traditional Horror elements, we are allowed to slowly unravel a story of regret, and being haunted by grief. Bruckner Uses dreamlike visuals to send us toward a spiraling descent into understanding the lasting damage of a split-second mistake.”