- 1 hr 40 min
Rituals is a 1977 Canadian horror movie directed by Peter Carter, starring Hal Holbrook, Lawrence Dane, and Robin Gammell. It is a survival tale that follows five doctors who go on a camping trip in the remote wilderness of northern Canada. The movie opens with a group of jovial doctors embarking on a wilderness trip. The initial mood is light and playful, and the doctors seem excited to leave the confines of their city life and explore the great outdoors. Hal Holbrook plays Harry, the leader of the group and a respected doctor, who has planned the trip.
However, things take a dark turn when the group discovers that they are not alone and are being stalked by an unseen hunter. As the doctors begin to unravel, they are confronted with their darkest fears, and their bond is put to the test.
The movie takes its time, building a strong sense of unease as the group journeys deep into the wilderness. The long shots of the rugged terrain, the dense trees, and the raging rivers create an atmosphere of isolation and detachment. The movie is slow-paced, but it is never dull, as the tension continuously builds.
As the group wanders deeper into the forest, they encounter strange and ominous signs, such as a decapitated deer head that serves as a warning, and an abandoned cabin that appears to have been used by someone. Hours turn into days, and as the group becomes more lost, they begin to feel more vulnerable and helpless.
The movie's strength lies in its cast, who all deliver solid performances. Hal Holbrook, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Deep Throat in All the President's Men, gives a convincing performance as a man grappling with fear and desperation. Lawrence Dane, who plays Martin, the second-in-command, is a standout, bringing a quiet intensity to his role. Robin Gammell, as Abel, brings a sense of brooding menace to the movie.
The hunter, who is never shown, makes for a formidable antagonist. The viewer is left to imagine what he looks like, which only adds to the sense of terror. The hunter is portrayed as a force of nature, almost supernatural, as he seems to be omniscient and always one step ahead of the group.
Rituals is not a gory movie, but it is a tense and suspenseful one. It explores the dark side of human nature and how quickly a group can turn on one another when pushed to the brink. The cinematography by Rene Verzier is excellent, capturing the beauty of the landscape but also highlighting the terror lurking behind every tree.
The movie's ending is both shocking and satisfying, with a twist that feels both earned and fitting. The final scenes leave the viewer with a sense of unease, as it is clear that the characters have been changed forever.
Overall, Rituals is an underappreciated gem of a horror movie that deserves more attention. It is a slow burn that rewards the viewer with a payoff that is both visceral and emotional. The movie's exploration of the terrors of isolation and the dangers of the natural world is relevant even today, and the performances by the cast are excellent. If you are a fan of horror movies that rely on atmosphere and tension rather than cheap thrills, then Rituals is a must-watch.
Rituals is a 1977 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2.