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||IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from 938 votes
||Release: 21 July 1977 (Canada) /
||Genre: Adventure, Horror, Thriller
||Director: Peter Carter,
||Stars: Gary Reineke, Hal Holbrook, Jack Creley, Ken James, Lawrence Dane, Michael Zenon, Murray Westgate, Robin Gammell
||Synopsis: Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Canadian wilderness. After all but one pair of the party's shoes disappear, the remaining shoed camper decides to hike out and go look for help. Soon after he leaves, however, his four companions realizes that something is very wrong when someone leaves a decapitated deer head just outside their camp. Even though they still don't have their shoes, they decide to follow their friend's trail out of the woods, but their path is blocked by someone who doesn't want to see them leave the forest alive. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
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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 "NOW that was a great
movie!" I was totally riveted from beginning to end. While watching it,
my attention never veered away from the big screen. I didn't look at my
watch or the exit sign. My thoughts didn'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'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.
It'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't even compare to the Canadian shocker. A lot
of critics, including Roger Ebert, dismissed RITUALS as a poor man's
DELIVERANCE, and though both movies sorta resemble each other, both
films couldn't be more different. In DELIVERANCE, we see the villains.
In RITUALS, we have no idea who'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'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'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.
If there was an underrated movie, it sure is this one. But why is
RITUALS so overlooked? It's probably because it's a Canadian movie.
It's also because there'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's
probably too serious for most. It's also been unfairly dismissed by
critics who don't care about horror movies. There are countless number
of reasons why this movie is unknown and it's a shame because it's a
real buried treasure (for those who like these kind of movies,
obviously). RITUALS does have a fervent cult following though!
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's filled with
tension and dread. It'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'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'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't bother me because it never
felt fake. As long as it rings true, I'm fine with any kind of behavior
portrayed on screen. RITUALS also has an openly gay character who'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.
I consider RITUALS a masterpiece of horror. Not only is this Canadian
flick the best woodsy slasher ever made, it's also one of the best
horror films ever made. I give it a big 10!!!!
Tags for Rituals Full Movie
, Hal Holbrook
, Jack Creley
, Ken James
, Lawrence Dane
, Michael Zenon
, Murray Westgate
, Robin Gammell
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