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‘The Ritual’ Reviews: Netflix’s New Original Horror Film Is Worth a Trip to the Woods for Genre Fiends

The film is now streaming.

The Ritual Netflix

With “The Cloverfield Paradox” all but a distant memory at this point, Netflix has released its latest original horror film: “The Ritual,” which is earning mixed-to-positive notices (which, to be fair, is better than most genre offerings). David Bruckner (“Southbound,” “V/H/S”) directed the movie, which is now streaming. Here’s what those coastal-elite critics have to say:

Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times is for it:

“‘The Ritual’ is efficient and highly effective in its style, relying on sound, creepy production design, and the men’s own fear and misjudgment to create the sense of pervasive doom. We don’t see the monster in too much detail, leaving the mystery intact, but the creature design is stunningly original.”

Henry Stewart‘s review for Slant is less enthusiastic, but still fairly positive:

“‘The Ritual,’ based on the novel by Adam Nevill, is besieged with strange happenings, including Runic-like symbols carved onto trees (rather than built out of twigs), but it spoils its tension by elaborating on the nature of the evil—more godlike and primeval than a mere American witch—that plagues the four friends.”

Writing for the AV Club, Mike D’Angelo is more mixed:

“Horror fans who’ve wondered what Bruckner might do with an entire movie of his own will be disappointed by his solo feature-length debut, ‘The Ritual,’ which attempts to put a twist on the ‘Blair Witch’ formula but demonstrates surprisingly little imagination.”

“The Ritual”

Ditto Alan Scherstuhl of the Village Voice:

“The characters wander in baffling circles, but the story soldiers dutifully from beat to beat, scare to scare. It has this going for it — when it comes to offing its characters, The Ritual proves more pitiless than you might expect for a film that has this tony a look.”

The Globe and Mail’s Brad Wheeler offers similar sentiments:

“While thoughtfully done, the entertainment value of this sombre scare fiesta isn’t high. It’s about life’s paths taken and the rituals (and fears) we submit to.”

“The Ritual” is currently rocking a 58 on Metacritic and a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. You can watch it on Netflix now if you’re so inclined.

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