Summary: Rotten Tomatoes

Reuniting after the tragic death of their friend, four college pals set out to hike through the Scandinavian wilderness. A wrong turn leads them into the mysterious forests of Norse legend, where an ancient evil exists and stalks them at every turn.


Nerd corner:

Masculinity in crisis

Adult male friendships

Constructions of masculinity

Gender roles/norms activity explanation


KS Notes: 

How small man is 

The loooooooong pour from the flask.

Grief and guilt. Shame. Differences between guilt and shame. 

Walking through rain. No baptism here. 

There has to be a reason for them to cut through a forest. 

Off trail hiking equals trespassing 

And the compass must stop working. Thems the breaks, sorry kid

I don’t know I’m not the fucking beer expert. 

Nature is brutal. The human interlopers. 

Creepy symbols on tree. Love it. 

Fairy tales- never trust a house in the woods

Well this is clearly the house we get murdered in. 

They see all this ominous shit and are like well that exists. Keep going I guess. 

Bird feet?  

Dom wants to follow the “path” saying it means civilization. Great. Love it. 

Dom is a fucking dumbass. Manmade doesn’t mean GOOD. the fucking HOUSE. 

Don’t separate my dudes. 

Unmanaged grief, poor communication kills. 

The walking distance between them all increased to show their emotional distance. 

Finding hutch 🙁 

Phil is thinking about the monster and Dom wants to ignore the problem “keep your shit together” means denial in this case. 

They are in the prettier part of the forest but it’s never been bleaker. 

Hope spot. But then the creepy fires.

He’s stuck in that damn gas station that degrades each time you see it. 

Why on earth do you think the path is to safety??????

Why does any house feel like a refuge from nature, even if it’s horrific? 

Nothing is scarier. The crying, the begging, the strange noises. But no visual. 

A movie about denial, not accepting that trauma has occurred. 

Noises from the room of petrified corpses?? HATE IT. the corpses are screaming. He lights em on fire. 

He just punches the old lady HA

Okay I take back what I said about the monster reveal last time. I clearly didn’t notice it’s creepy fucking glowing eyes. I was too distracted  by the stag parts. The face and the eyes really fjuck me up. 


General Conversation: 

Gore used intentionally. Love it. Bruckner said: “I’ve made far bloodier movies! Usually, I love going there, but I’m actually quite sensitive to how violence is employed,” he explained. “It can amplify some disgusting human behavior, or shock something familiar into a state of panic; as long as it contributes to the story in some way. There was something about The Ritual, perhaps the earnestness of the characters, or the familiarity of the conceit, that it just felt indulgent to go too far with the gore” (Bloody Disgusting). So you have the torn open elk with the entrails and dripping blood, Hutch’s body in the tree, some tasteful eye gore, but it’s not overdone and it’s not constant. 


I take back what I said a while ago about the monster reveal being a let-down. I may have phrased that too strongly. I am generally of the opinion that less is more, but I don’t think that the horror in this was totally reliant on mystery. I think the total alienness of this mutated creature (child of a god) fits well into Eldritch Abomination territory and I’m very pro Moder. 


This is not a unique or groundbreaking movie. It didn’t boldly subvert tropes in a new way or twist the genre. But I think it still offers a take on grief and guilt as monstrous or all-consuming. And it’s still a scary genre movie. 


Lil moments of humor peppered in there. It’s not Get Out or An American Werewolf in London. But it’s that moment where they’re pouring out the flask and it takes longer than anticipated, or Luke tries to shoot the cultist but the gun jams and then when clearing it he accidentally shoots the cultist.



Age without youth

Asshole victim

Bald of evil 

Bad boss 

Dead guy on display

Definite Article Title

Downer beginning- like the Descent

Due to the dead

Eldritch Abomination

Event Title

Eye scream

Face death with dignity

Final boy


Genre savvy

Gods need prayer badly


He was right there all along

Immortality Immorality

Impaled with extreme prejudice

Join or die

Kill it with fire

Kneel before Zod

Lovecraft Lite

Mr. Exposition


Non sequitur environment – Surreal Horror

Our monsters are weird

Religion of evil

Scenery porn


Remaining notes:

Long, Kelle. (2017, October 30). How The Ritual‘s Cinematographer Immerses You in Fear. Motion Pictures.


“I related to the idea of men in their mid-thirties who had been friends under different circumstances when they were younger, and that there was tension among the group. There was a difficulty in kind of maintaining those friendships, and just a general sense of masculinity in crisis that I actually think had not been explored in a horror film that I can remember. You’re always looking for some preexisting anxiety, some sort of contemporary unease that you can build the nightmares on upon, you know?” (Collider)



(2020, March 20). 45+ Literary Devices and Terms That Everyone Should Know. Reedsyblog.