David Bruckner has had an interesting path to his feature length directorial debut. He’s been in three horror “anthologies” where his segments have actually been considered the strongest. The Signal was a curious zombie-like film from 2007 and his piece was the most intense to the point where critics said they wished the film kept that tone straight to the end. In V/H/S, his tale, Amateur Night, was a boy’s night out gone wrong as throwback drive-in cinema at its best. And in Southbound, his segment The Accident, is always noted as a high point of that movie. Now in 2018, The Ritual, a very different type of horror film than anything he has ever done prior, arrived with a bang on Netflix.
Five Brits get together to plan a guy’s trip away. When a robbery causes the death of one of them, Luke, Phil, Hutch, and Dom head to Sweden in tribute to him. After a long hike in the mountains, Dom twists his leg leading them to believe they will not be able to make it back before dark. Using a map, they decide to take a short cut through a deep forest that would cut the journey in half. As they begin their trek back, each soon discovers they are in danger.
Based on the book by British author Adam Nevill, adapted to the screen by tv scriptor Joe Barton, David Bruckner brings a dark and scary tale to screen. The film made its debut late last year at the Toronto International Film Festival and caused a bidding war between Lionsgate and Netflix. Receiving fairly good reviews, the movie has already been listed as one of this year’s best early genre releases. Dark Discussions Podcast takes a look at the movie and gives their thoughts.