Rituals

1977

Adventure / Horror

0
IMDb Rating 6.4

Synopsis


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1.90G
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English
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100 min
P/S 17 / 20
1.20G
Normal
English
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100 min
P/S 54 / 81

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lost-in-limbo 8

After reading no less than positive thoughts (mainly by horror fans), in the back of my mind I was thinking that maybe I was setting myself up for a huge letdown after finally managing to get my hands on a copy (uncut too). Gladly to say it lived up to its reputation and I was thoroughly enthralled by the slow grinding, suspense-drilling minimal 70s survival horror set-up amongst the remote, vast Canadian deep mountainous backwoods.<br/><br/>Five doctors meet up every year, and this reunion they decide to go on a trek in a remote mountain terrain known by the local Indians as the Cauldron of the Moon. However they soon realise they&#39;re not alone, and find they&#39;ll being stalked and slowly picked off by someone who seems to hold a grudge of some sort.<br/><br/>What I found that separated this from most backwoods survival horror (and it shares common ground with its blatant influencer &#39;Deliverance&#39;) is that the characters are given more emotional weight (as background mistakes and methodical differences arose from the unbearable stress) and in doing so makes their conflicts and petty bickering intensely raw and effective in the way they stretch their friendships. This is based more so on the inflicting psychological drama, than say just the nasty action (gore and violence is kept low-key, but there is still a dangerous air of sinisterness within). It&#39;s a fight for survival, reverting back to primal instincts isn&#39;t option at first, but eventually it succumbs to. Also lingering in the well-written script is the focus of being frightened by the unknown and paralysed by abandonment. Our deranged tormentor stays pretty much a shadow (we&#39;re give a brief story or explanation to why he&#39;s humiliating and torturing these doctors. Is it personal? Does someone know more than they let on? Or it is just in the wrong place at the wrong time) to only appear as an eerily ominous figure in the picturesque backdrop (that sets off some nerves), until the final closing frames we come face-to-face with the freak of nature. The material formed by Ian Sutherland is cerebral and emotionally guided, if a little grey.<br/><br/>Director Peter Carter efficiently constructs a productively tight pace and bleak atmospherics from the alienating locations. Distinctively skin crawling imagery can leave a haunting mark. Sure the low-budget showed up some niggles (jumpy editing and dark passages), but was neatly worked around it. The tension is gained more so from the authentic character interactions and attitudes that they battle to stay one step ahead. As it&#39;s just no the killer to worry about either, but the tearing harshness of Mother Nature. Being eaten alive by bugs. Rapid moving rivers. Unstable terrain and the beaming sun. And not to forget one another. The performances are tremendously towering and strongly delivered by a dependably competent cast. An anchor-like Hal Holbrook is demandingly sharp and Lawrence Dane is suitably good. Hagood Hardy&#39;s majestically shuddery music score had that organic sense surrounding it and fitted in perfectly. Rene Verzier&#39;s camera-work is top-rate as he sharply lenses the colourful backdrop, but also the impending intensity in the character&#39;s actions.<br/><br/>An excellently uneasy and captivating low-budget survival trek that keeps it all quite basic, but manages to also bring out the bitter blows when it counts.

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Reviewed by Maciste_Brother 10

I saw RITUALS on the big screen when I was a teenager and when the end credits rolled, I looked to my friend and said &quot;NOW that was a great movie!&quot; I was totally riveted from beginning to end. While watching it, my attention never veered away from the big screen. I didn&#39;t look at my watch or the exit sign. My thoughts didn&#39;t drift away in boredom like so many movies back then or even today. RITUALS was compelling viewing from the very first frame to the very last frame. I enjoyed RITUALS so much that it burgeoned a quasi-obsession in me: backwoods slashers. Ever since seeing RITUALS, I&#39;ve tried to see every backwoods slasher ever made. And none of them come even close to recreating the realism and believability of RITUALS. JUST BEFORE DAWN, THE FINAL TERROR or THE BURNING, etc, are kids stuff compared to RITUALS.<br/><br/>It&#39;s amazing that such a great film is totally overlooked by almost everyone. RITUALS basically started the whole maniac-in-the-woods genre and yet few people have seen it. You think Friday THE 13TH started the whole woodsy slasher trend? Well, RITUALS was made 3 years before Friday THE 13TH. And even though the Paramount flick is a classic in its own right, it doesn&#39;t even compare to the Canadian shocker. A lot of critics, including Roger Ebert, dismissed RITUALS as a poor man&#39;s DELIVERANCE, and though both movies sorta resemble each other, both films couldn&#39;t be more different. In DELIVERANCE, we see the villains. In RITUALS, we have no idea who&#39;s stalking the men. DELIVERANCE is a survivalist story more about ordinary guys killing hicks in self-defense and the moral implications about killing in a modern world. RITUALS is a survivalist movie about ordinary guys being hounded and killed one by one by an unseen killer. It&#39;s more of a horror movie than DELIVERANCE, which is very slick and less believable than the Canadian movie. After watching RITUALS, you really feel you&#39;ve been through what the actors had to go through in order to make the movie. RITUALS is dirtier, grimier, bloodier and much darker than DELIVERANCE. So, comparing both film is, in my opinion, completely pointless.<br/><br/>If there was an underrated movie, it sure is this one. But why is RITUALS so overlooked? It&#39;s probably because it&#39;s a Canadian movie. It&#39;s also because there&#39;s no sex or female nudity from bimbos we usually see in these kind of slashers, which makes it less marketable. RITUALS has an all-male cast and every actor is of a certain age. It&#39;s probably too serious for most. It&#39;s also been unfairly dismissed by critics who don&#39;t care about horror movies. There are countless number of reasons why this movie is unknown and it&#39;s a shame because it&#39;s a real buried treasure (for those who like these kind of movies, obviously). RITUALS does have a fervent cult following though!<br/><br/>The whole production is excellent. The direction, acting, dialogue, cinematography are top notch. The desolate scenery is at times stunning. And everything has a ring of truth about it. It&#39;s filled with tension and dread. It&#39;s scary and exhausting. The things that are done to the men are never exaggerated and yet elicit a lot of dread (the bear traps in the river, the medal on Martin, the head on the stick, etc). The conclusion of the film is totally riveting. The whole part at the cabin, with Mitzi hung up in the air. Or the moment Hal Holbrook&#39;s character finally meets the killer, when you can help but feel a varied mix of emotions at the sight of the killer (keeping the killer&#39;s appearance a mystery up to the very end works, dramatically speaking, perfectly in this instance). Or the scene when the killer gets his hand blown off is shocking because the gore effects are so realistic. Everything about the ending is pure horror, but never over-the-top horror like so many stupid horror films. And, finally, the music is also excellent. For example, when we see the point-of-view of the killer, the music accompanying these shots is subtle and enhances the whole idea behind the usually unimaginative use of POV shots. And I like the very last scene of the movie, the one on the road. All in all, RITUALS is successful on all fronts. The only part that some might find irritating are the behavior of some of the characters (a lot of yelling, grown men crying) but that didn&#39;t bother me because it never felt fake. As long as it rings true, I&#39;m fine with any kind of behavior portrayed on screen. RITUALS also has an openly gay character who&#39;s just one of the guys. His portrayal, warts and all, is a positive one which was rare in horror movies back then or even today.<br/><br/>I consider RITUALS a masterpiece of horror. Not only is this Canadian flick the best woodsy slasher ever made, it&#39;s also one of the best horror films ever made. I give it a big 10!!!!

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Reviewed by Witchfinder-General-666 7

Often compared to John Boorman&#39;s &quot;Deliverance&quot; (1972), Peter Carter&#39;s &quot;Rituals&quot; (aka. &quot;The Creeper&quot;) of 1977 is a creepy and effective Canadian &#39;backwoods&#39; Horror film which isn&#39;t too well-known, but enjoys a certain cult-status among Horror fans. The comparisons with &quot;Delicerance&quot; are obvious: A bunch of civilized men take a trip into the wilderness in order to have an adventure in the beauty of nature, and have to experience unexpected terrors. In this case, five medical doctors take a trip to go hiking in a remote lakeside area in the deep Canadian woods, days&#39; walks away from civilization. In the first night, their boots get stolen. From that time onward, the friends are getting stalked by a murderous phantom fiend...<br/><br/>The film was obviously shot on a modest budget, and is very well-made. The beautiful but inescapable Canadian wilderness is a perfect location for a backwoods horror film, and &quot;Rituals&quot; maintains a truly creepy and menacing atmosphere from the beginning to the end. None of the characters is really likable, which slightly lessens the suspense, as one isn&#39;t as scared for them. The characters are thereby those one would expect in such a film: There is the heroic tough guy (Hal Holbrook), the scumbag (Lawrence Dane), the wuss (Robin Gammell), the clown (Gary Reinecke). Personally, I always lament the lack of a woman character in a Horror film, as I find it a lot easier to be scared for a woman than for a man. However, I see the point, as a trip into the wilderness is something that a bunch of guys would do together. The somewhat gonzo-style cinematography in the wilderness sometimes increases the feeling of presence (and therefore the creepiness) and reminded me of the Italian Cannibal films (such as &quot;Cannibal Holocaust&quot;) that were shot around the time and later. The score is very good and effective, and the moments of powerful Classical music fit the film very well. The violence is not overtly gory, but quite disturbing. Especially in its second half, the film gets creepy as hell. Overall, &quot;Rituals&quot; is highly recommendable, especially to my fellow fans of gritty low-budget 70s Horror.

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