It’s always a tricky task to adapt a novel because of the constant comparisons to the source material.
Admittedly I didn’t stick with Adam Nevill’s The Ritual and after seeing the film version from David Bruckner I felt slightly guilty.
Bruckner of course has horror pedigree with the excellent Southbound and segment of V/H/S amongst others under his belt. He also came close to reviving the Friday the 13th series with a bombastic 80’s themed script that never saw the light of day, much to fans disappointment.
Although we have seen the terror in the woods motif time and time again, The Ritual adds something original to this narrative. It helps that there is a small cast, so you get to know the group who decide to go hiking to honour the memory of their friend who is murdered in a robbery in the opening scenes.
The group of four men have excellent chemistry and bounce off each other with banter and even when things go wrog they still can crack a joke which lightens the tension.
One of the refreshing elements of The Ritual is how it builds up the tension, only occasionally going for the cheap scares.
This isn’t ultimately anywhere near what the real danger is, with the final 20 minutes unravelling an enitrely different strand to the plot which enrich the whole film and certainly lift it well above the mediocrity it could have descended into.