Venturing into the wilderness of the Swedish highlands to perform a remembrance for a dearly departed friend, four men are subjected to a night of terror when they unwisely take refuge in a derelict house.

Midnight Madness

The Ritual

David Bruckner

In the wilderness of Northern Sweden's highlands, four men reunite to pay tribute to a dearly departed college friend but find themselves hopelessly lost after an ill-advised shortcut. Tired, hungry, and besieged by storm clouds, they stumble upon a derelict house. Paying little mind to the eldritch markings and artifacts that lay strewn within and around the cabin, they resolve to spend the night inside — a decision that may very well damn them all.

With his chilling first feature, director David Bruckner not only makes good on the promise shown in his stellar contributions to anthology horror productions like V/H/S ("Amateur Night") and 2015's Midnight Madness selection Southbound ("The Accident"). He definitively cements himself as one of the genre's most accomplished directors, deftly adapting Adam Nevill's acclaimed novel of the same name and imbuing its familiar premise of woodland terror with captivating psychological depth and nightmarish spectacle.

What might have been a mere parade of stock shocks instead patiently unravels its well-drawn characters, all of whom are richly portrayed with a relatable humanity, particularly the conflicted Luke as played by Rafe Spall. His guilt-ridden guise effectively draws the audience into the interior emotional orbit of these broken men, anchoring this skilful horror parable with the dramatic stakes to buoy the fantastic and eerie equine evil that awaits in its terrifying climax.

PETER KUPLOWSKY

Fri 08

Ryerson Theatre

Regular
11:59pm
Sat 09

Scotiabank 12

Press
7:00pm
Sun 10

Scotiabank 13

Regular
1:45pm
Tue 12

Scotiabank 8

Press
11:30am