Let’s go camping.

I must apologize to my normal readers as I have been neglecting the blog as of late. I try to watch newer films interspersed with old films that interest me, but lately anything new coming out just looks like a deep-fried cat turd.

The nice thing about it being early in the year is I can clear out my watchlists of older stuff that caught my eye without worrying about being up to date.

Anyway, here is Rituals, a horror film following five doctors who are going on their (what seems like annual) camping trip. We’re thrown in quickly to five personalities debating the ethics of natural or synthetic materials in medicine. Then, we get onto the plane and let the movie begin in earnest.

It is weird to see these characters so bitter with each other over their places in the medical world. The tension doesn’t allow us to see the characters as much as it does give us a window into medical and economic issues of the time. The divides and fights the characters have link to the horror aspects a bit, but I’m not sure it is needed.

I recently complained about 1980s horror, but I do tend to like 1970s films. Here, we balance between humor, drama, and horror surprisingly well. Our doctors are visiting a remote region for some hiking, fishing, and shenanigans.

It becomes clear quickly that something else is in the woods with them though. Surprise! We’ve got ourselves a camping trip gone wrong slasher film. The tensions in the group boil over once their shoes go missing. The team leader, sick of the bickering, volunteers to go to the dam to find someone. That night, it becomes clear they are in danger. However, this threat seems more interested in tormenting the men rather than outright attacking them.

Tensions continue to rise as the danger gets closer and we get to see what type of men these are as they are pushed to the limit. The suspense of the film is great, as are the human elements. The final act where we transition to traditional horror isn’t as successful, but this one was a lot of fun.

Good writing and interesting, real characters propel this one above the norm of this sort of horror film.

My biggest complaint is one the film couldn’t avoid. With utilizing natural lighting, the night scenes are simply too dark. We end up with frustrating moments where nothing can be made out clearly. However, the daytime scenes are great.

This is a fun one to check out. I give it a hearty thumbs up.

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