An interesting little film.

(Sorry for posting a day late!)

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Ritual is an early Mickey Keating film (I say early, but he is a fairly new director). I love Keating’s style, and Darling is simply an excellent film. I have been curious about his earlier work, and while his trademark style is present, it is not as polished as his later work.

Ritual follows the story of a married couple who are having severe problems. Tom (Dean Cates) and his wife Lovely (Lisa Marie Summerscales) seem to be about to separate as Lovely has apparently run off with another man before. Tom receives a phone call in the middle of the night, and is coerced by Lovely to come and help her at a hotel.

Upon arriving, Tom discovers that Lovely killed a man in self defense after he planned to rape her in his hotel room. After searching the man’s car, they learn that he was not only a rapist, but part of a dangerous cult that kidnaps and sacrifices women, and Lovely was meant to be their next victim.

The film is sparse, and a good majority of it is either within a vehicle or a hotel room, but Keating does well in claustrophobic settings. The tension is thick, and the acting is simply top notch from our two leads.

I can’t say much without giving away anything, so this might seem a bit vague of a review. The good aspects of the film are the directing, setting, sound, and acting. Each of these components forms a gripping thriller—I found myself totally sucked into the story pretty quick. Where the film suffers is the video tapes of the cults—the grainy quality doesn’t work with the otherwise stylized approach.

One area where this film will drive people absolutely bonkers is the mistakes with true crime/crime scene details. Now, I don’t expect films to be forensically accurate (and those that I do think are accurate my friend can pick apart easily…), but a little more effort would have been nice. All I could think at some moments was: “why are you touching everything!!” This is a small complaint, but it was distracting.

The ending is probably going to be divisive amongst audiences as the tone changes, but I loved the irreverence of the final few minutes. It somehow clicked with me. I think this is certainly one worth watching. 7.5/10

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