On the 10th day of Halloween, track it down and see…
‘The Ritual’ (2017). Four friends take a hiking trip in Sweden to get over a shared bereavement, take an ill-advised shortcut through some deep, dark woods, and find themselves hunted by a large, dark, inhuman entity.
I love monster movies. All the best ones have one thing in common: the monster is a metaphor for something dark and terrible within ourselves. It’s what can elevate these kind of movies (‘Alien’, ‘The Thing’ and ‘The Babadook’ are all masterpieces of this type) to greatness.
This Netflix production isn’t in that league, but it is taut, delivered with great energy, and surprisingly funny. Its monster – and the forest setting – represents the pain and guilt of the four protagonists following their traumatic event. They must battle this ‘monster’ without and within; conquer it, or be consumed by it. There have been times we’ve all struggled to escape those woods.