Midnight Madness

The Ritual

David Bruckner

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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.

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

location_on Ryerson Theatre

theaters Regular

location_on Scotiabank 12

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location_on Scotiabank 13

theaters Regular

location_on Scotiabank 8

theaters Press