Rituals - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rituals Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 15, 2009
Having missed the screening of the Canadian slasher film My Bloody Valentine because of a major power outage here in Toronto, I decided to quench my thirst for Canadian horror by rewatching this Deliverance inspired flick.
I first heard of this in Stephen King's fantastic Danse Macabre book, where he makes the bold statement that he liked this more than Deliverance. Granted, I wouldn't go that far, but Rituals' got the goods. Anyway, once a movie's over 30 years old, who cares if it's a rip off? And Deliverance has spawned some great films (including this one) that were inspired by it. Southern Comfort, Hunter's Blood, Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The list is endless.
Rituals has some great performances, good dialogue and a gripping atmosphere. And it's nice to see a film about a group of adults (doctors no less) rather than teens stalked by a killer.
Highly recommended to fans of horror and survival movies.
½ June 3, 2012
There are way too many great things to say about this movie that I can't even fathom exactly where to begin and keep this review succinct! I was absolutely overtaken by this movie; put in a trance in which only this movie existed for about 90 min. And i believe that if you are able to give yourself to this movie, to buy into it and truly empathize with its characters . . . then this movie will kick the crap out of you! UNFORGIVING, brutal, suspenseful, depressing, and masterful! The ONLY reason I could think to give this movie 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 is because I don't think that it is a movie that I will end up watching over-an-over again throughout my life; but it will certainly be watched again and recommended again and again and again!
½ January 4, 2012
When the internet recently started going nuts about this Hicksploitation film I was very surprised to find that I owned a public domain version on one of those giant Mill Creek sets, so I was able to give it a peep, even if it might be missing a minute or so of the full running time.

The story of five doctors who take a camping trip each year, but this year they find themselves pursued by an unseen madman who leaves clues at the scene of each attack, slowly filling in why he's so hellbent on killing them.

Decent little watch, I would be curious to see how much I like it if I get to check out a better print.

Rental?
May 6, 2010
I must confess that the reason I decided to watch Rituals, which was titled The Creeper on the DVD I had, was because the synopsis on the box made me laugh. It said that all but one member of a group of doctors camping in the Canadian wilderness have their shoes stolen in the middle of the night, and the person who still has shoes ventures out for help but never returns. Looking at that now, it's really not that funny. But even worse, this movie isn't that interesting either.

Rituals reminded me a lot of Deliverance, but in structure only. Both films have a group of vacation friends being the target of some backwoods menace, but Deliverance I feel handled this situation a lot better and made a much darker and more effective film. Rituals on the other hand felt like it wanted to shock its audiences, but neglected to develop the story properly or give any insight onto who this person was that was stalking them any why they were doing what they were doing to these people. Sure, there is a half-assed explanation, but I don't buy it.

I did like that the killer of the film remains off screen through the majority of the film. Essentially we just see the horrible traps he has set up for this group of campers, which includes a bee's nest falling from the side of a cliff and some bear traps hidden in the river the group tries to cross. It's when the killer is revealed where things get silly, and instead of coming to an ending that makes sense or was rewarding, Rituals goes out with a yawn.

Of the actors in the film, Hal Holbrook was the best of the bunch. Recently he got a lot of great buzz, and even an Oscar nomination, for his performance in Sean Penn's Into the Wild. He has been in a lot of great movies, but my personal favorite film of his was Creepshow, where he played doormat husband Henry Northup in "The Crate" segment of the film. I found him to be enjoyable in Rituals, and the one reason I managed to stick with the film to the end.

Other than that, Rituals is a disappointing horror film. I'm not for sure if this film was inspired by Deliverance, or if it was a rip-off, but I would recommend skipping this film and checking out Deliverance if you haven't already. Sure, that film has an anal rape scene in it, but it won't leave you with the frazzled felling Rituals as a whole left me with.
½ May 6, 2010
AKA: Creeper. Shameless rip-off of the far superior "Deliverance". It does have some reasonably suspenseful scenes, but very predictable. The acting is fine. Not awful, just unoriginal.
½ June 9, 2015
Tense wilderness drama seemingly inspired by DELIVERANCE. Five Doctors head into the wilderness for a getaway and are mercilessly stalked by an unknown party. Not only do the Doctors not really appear to enjoy the wilderness, they also do not seem to enjoy each other's company either and their teamwork disintegrates almost immediately upon the first moment of trouble. Good Canadian thriller.
½ January 4, 2015
I really liked Rituals. Although it is similar to Deliverance in its setting and visuals, I felt the story was so different that it would be unfair to write it off as a cheap knockoff. Although it's not as polished as its famous predecessor, I found it grittier and more suspenseful.
October 27, 2012
I liked this Canadian film better the second time around and had to up my rating. An outdoorsman out for revenge for being the victim of some shoddy medical work in WWII stalks a group of doctors on a hiking trip in the remote woods. The doctors are supposedly old friends but they don't seem to get along all that well (even before the killer arrives). Would have garnered a higher score had the last half hour or so not been filmed in near complete darkness.
June 7, 2013
Not bad..not great but not bad either..reminded me a lot of Southern Comfort
December 13, 2012
The best Canadian horror film that almost no one has heard of. It's clearly modeled on "Deliverance", and while it's not anywhere as good as that film, it goes into it's own territory after borrowing the basic premise. It's a gripping film with good performances all around and some great make-up effects. If you can find the Code Red DVD, it's extremely preferable to the PD copies circulating under the title "The Creeper".
½ June 3, 2012
There are way too many great things to say about this movie that I can't even fathom exactly where to begin and keep this review succinct! I was absolutely overtaken by this movie; put in a trance in which only this movie existed for about 90 min. And i believe that if you are able to give yourself to this movie, to buy into it and truly empathize with its characters . . . then this movie will kick the crap out of you! UNFORGIVING, brutal, suspenseful, depressing, and masterful! The ONLY reason I could think to give this movie 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 is because I don't think that it is a movie that I will end up watching over-an-over again throughout my life; but it will certainly be watched again and recommended again and again and again!
November 22, 2006
It really dragged on. The picture was so unclear, it was hard to tell what was going on sometimes.
½ January 4, 2012
When the internet recently started going nuts about this Hicksploitation film I was very surprised to find that I owned a public domain version on one of those giant Mill Creek sets, so I was able to give it a peep, even if it might be missing a minute or so of the full running time.

The story of five doctors who take a camping trip each year, but this year they find themselves pursued by an unseen madman who leaves clues at the scene of each attack, slowly filling in why he's so hellbent on killing them.

Decent little watch, I would be curious to see how much I like it if I get to check out a better print.

Rental?
½ August 24, 2011
This is a cult classic??? At almost every turn of the film, the action sequences and acting were overly hyped and over acted. I understood what Peter Carter, was trying to do but "Zzzzzzzzzzzz". I prefer "Deliverance."
August 14, 2011
Now I want my epitaph to say "SUCH A GENTLE BOOB".
August 7, 2011
Väldigt lyckad rysare (eller egentligen mer en survivalist-film á la Deliverance) med bra skådespel, genomtänkta karaktärer, stämningsfullt foto och en isande mardrömskänsla. Att se om den på DVD kändes nästan som att se den för första gången, innan fanns den bara på video med så mörk bild att man i delar av filmen knappt fattar vad som händer. Varmt rekommenderad!
July 3, 2011
Viisi lääkäriä lähtee viikon patikkaretkelle tietämättä, että heitä seuraa yksi kauhuelokuvan historian kammottavimmista hirviöistä. Erämaakauhun kuningasteos pyyhkii lattiaa samoihin aikoihin julkaistulla tunnetummalla sukulaisteoksella The Hills Have Eyes. Saksa-dvd:n kuva on ihan kamala, tässä olisi Criterionin paikka julkaista remasteroitu blu-ray.
½ June 17, 2011
Great Canadian Deliverence rip-off.Perfect movie for watching up at the cottage on a cold fall night.
May 16, 2011
A Canadian classic and a personal favourite horror movie of mine, Rituals has that special creepy quality you just don't get anymore that comes from great acting and using the elements of nature as great cinematography.

5 doctors go on a camping trip together for a vacation away from it all. But their plans isn't the plans of someone else. Or something else. Torturing and horrifying events plague the doctors who look for help through the woods, but find themselves only doing exactly what they're expected to do. Rituals is kind of like Deliverance, but without anyone squealing like a pig. (if you get my drift) But this incredibly freaky horror movie keeps you wondering what is trying to kill them, eventually unfolding a puzzle that needs some thinking, but is pretty smart and very intriguing. You don't really see any goss slasher violence, you see the aftermath of violence. Rituals isn't just a horror but a psychological thriller that tests survival and morality, and that is shown to the fullest because of some incredible small time but talented actors. The star, Hal Holbrook, plays a very interesting, hard as nails character with a stubborn and prideful moral code. All the actors are great and play off eachother and their situations nicely, and talk about moral decisions that makes Rituals smarter than your average horror movie.

The best thing about good Canadian horror movies is that they use what's best about Canada as their key element. Like how Black Christmas was filmed during winter, Rituals was filmed in the great outdoors in the woods of Ontario. And don't get me wrong, this is an inexpensive movie, so what you see is mostly what you get. The actors go through everything! The dark woods, raging rivers, burnt out and rocky areas all WITHOUT SHOES! But this movie was still beautifully filmed. Great cinematography through the whole enviroment, capturing many, MANY hard scenes with in very good angles. I spacifically like the scenes shot on the river and crossing the burnt out forest. The score is a little too retro, sometimes working, sometimes awkward, but when it fits it really makes the scene good. You won't find any of the horror cliches here. Rituals is a rare horror that relies on its unpredictable and horrifying scenes that gets you under your skin by its excellent directing.

Rituals is a small Canadian jewel. It's not a big movie with star studded cast. It doesn't rely on blood splattering gore or sexy scenes to keep you interested. Rituals is the best kind of horror that gets in your head to frighten you. And this movie doesn't loose its steam. This horror movie has true quality because it only gets better and more interesting the more you watch it.
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