The ritual is an atmospheric, psychological horror directed by David Bruckner about a group of friends who decide to go hiking trough Sweden to honor their deceased friend.
It starts off with five friends drinking and having fun in a pub, talking about where they want to go on a vacation. On their way back Rob and Luke decide to enter a store to buy some alcohol. While inside they see two muggers coming out of the back room. Luke manages to hide while Rob gets caught by them. Refusing to give up his wedding ring he gets beaten up and dies. Fast forward 6 months and we see the four remaining friends go on a hiking trip trough Scandinavia.
I was very surprised with the creativity of this movie. Both in a positive and negative way. The first part of the movie was very suspenseful, unnerving and it constantly makes you feel like something is not right. What I loved about it most was the way the main plot was mixed along with the “side plot” so to say about the rising tension between the friends, them trying to connect and move on and how that all unfolds under such circumstances.
However as much as I enjoyed it, there were still some issues with the film that almost ruined it for me. Most of the characters were not fully developed and most of the story was focused on Luke which is a shame since it was obvious that the actors had great chemistry and their stories could have been expanded. There was also a definitive shift in the movie which almost ruined the movie for me since it changes the style of the movie from making it a tense, psychological journey of friends who despite the obvious grudges they hold against each other try to ease the tension and get trough the sureal landscape of the forest to a predictable second half with a (mild spoiler alert) small group of villagers who capture them to sacrifice them to an ancient Nordic monster which to be fair had an amazing design.
In the end I would say that the pros outweigh the cons and despite all its flaws it still is a movie that deserves to be watched. It follows a simple concept which is executed in a fantastic way which combined with the gorgeous cinematography and chilling atmosphere make it a must watch for any horror fan. It got me interested in the book as well so I will probably be reading it in the future.
Final verdict 7/10