Movie Review – Ritual (2013)

Ritual
Directed by Mickey Keating
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: December 31, 2013

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Despite a couple of recent misses, Lionsgate is one of those companies that just keeps getting things right. Much like Anchor Bay, these guys know what horror fans want, and they don’t hesitate to deliver. Today’s movie, RITUAL, is a perfect example. This low-budget flick has a pretty basic premise but is crammed full of intensity and drama, along with a smidgen of nice gore. The result is a top notch horror film that is fast-paced and entertaining.

If you are not familiar with RITUAL, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

A long time ago, Tom and Lovely were married and everything was perfect. But that’s over. When Lovely kills a man after he tries to drug and kidnap her, she calls Tom for help and while cleaning up, they find a VHS tape that depicts a satanic ritual in which a woman is murdered. When they’re forced to return to the scene, they discover just how far this cult will go to perform their ritual.

The press release for this film really drew me in for some reason. As I mentioned, the plot doesn’t sound like much, but it has a lot of potential and could go in many directions. I am particularly pleased with the route writer/director Mickey Keating took, and I feel very satisfied with the film as a whole.

RITUAL is shot pretty well, although there are some shaky camera angles that don’t work too well. But this is a minor observation and does not really change my perception of the film at all. It looks good onscreen too, as if it had a high production budget. IMDB does not have an estimated budget, but it looks good nonetheless.

The acting is good, too. At first, I was afraid the actors were going to be overly dramatic and therefore ruin the plot…but this is not the case at all. The whole cast does a great job, with Dean Cates and Lisa Marie Summerscales stealing the show as the film’s main protagonists. Both Cates and Summerscales bring a sincere quality to their roles and deliver likable characters that are emotional and believable.

But the intensity in RITUAL is what really makes this such a fun film. It grabs you from the opening scenes and doesn’t let go. When the credits started, I couldn’t believe that almost 90 minutes had already passed.

If I were forced to find a flaw with this film, it would have to be a couple of lengthy ‘transition’ scenes that aren’t needed. Specifically, there are a couple of shots of vehicles driving on the highway that drag on way too long. Thankfully, this only happens twice, so it’s not enough to really detract from the film…however, I do feel it worthy to mention.

RITUAL is a great horror flick, and it’s one that ever horror fan will enjoy. It hits store shelves on the 31st, so make a note to check it out.

MSB

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