Ritual (2012) - Joko Anwar
Awakening in a shallow grave, a man finds himself buried alive with no recollection of how he got there. Stuck in the middle of the desolate forest, he is disoriented and confused. He goes through everything he has on him - his cell phone, his wallet, etc - finding his license, and a family picture that suggests he's the father of two children. Voyaging through the woods looking for answers, the man soon discovers he is being stalked by a psychopathic killer. Joko Anwar's Ritual is an unnerving horror film that plays against our deep-seeded fears of the unknown. Viewers expecting a fast-paced slasher flick should stay away from Ritual, as it isn't interested in gore as much as atmosphere and tension, providing a slow burning narrative of intrigue. Playing out more like a mystery than a horror film, Ritual puts the viewer directly into the psyche of its main protagonist, showing and telling the viewer absolutely nothing, making them instead experience everything as he does. Being an Indonesian film with English dialogue, the dialogue in Ritual is not the film's strong suit, being very clunky and abrasive. Fortunately, this is a film which features hardly any dialogue, making this shortcoming hardly noticeable. Perhaps the greatest attribute of Ritual is the uncertainty of its narrative, a film that is full of mystery and uncertainty up until the very last frame of the film. Ritual is a great example what horror films can be - intoxicating, mysterious, and deeply disturbing.
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