I can’t remember the last time I saw a horror movie set in the woods that actually made the environment feel so oppressive and evocative. The Ritual is certainly the first since The Blair Witch Project to make me dread stepping foot in a forrest at night. The misty photography is so beautiful. The film itself feels damp from the atmosphere.
Not to spoil anything too much but this also contains probably the finest creature design I’ve seen since Annihilation and before that, I don’t know what. I’ve never seen anything like it. The slow descent into folk-horror succeeds where so many before it have failed by having a consistently vague and ominous tone throughout. Once you’re faced with the reality of what’s going on, as extreme as it is, it never feels like the film is reaching too hard or has jumped the gun. The ground work is laid perfectly and it’s all shot and calibrated with the necessary control to keep it all wound so tight.
This really had me in its grip. Fucking spooky, man.
Watched on Netflix