The film adaptation of THE RITUAL opened in the UK last weekend, and knowing the book well and having had opportunity to discuss the production of the film with Adam (and the frustrations of film-making for authors – which we talked about on a panel in Liverpool recently – photo below courtesy of Dan Burgess Photography) I was keen to watch it. It didn’t disappoint.
Here’s the blurb and the trailer. Click the link below for my thoughts.
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.
Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence that is still present in the ancient forest, and now they’re the prey.
As the four friends struggle toward salvation they discover that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…
Regular readers will know that I’m usually one of the first to moan about the film industry’s habit of remaking old movies. I stand by most of my previous comments, in that remakes are often a lame excuse to capitalise on the goodwill an older version of a movie has garnered (case in point, pretty much every remake of 1970’s and 1980’s horror – Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw, and so on). Occasionally the original film-makers will be involved, and a remake will make sense (such as the 2013 Evil Dead… you could also argue that Evil Dead II was a remake of sorts of the 1981 original). There remains another category of remakes, and it just so happens that three of these updated versions of classic films rank in my top ten horror movies of all time. This is where new film-makers put a present day spin on horror tales which, quite often, were well made but were limited in some way – perhaps by the technology of the day, or maybe the social landscape has changed to give a story increased relevance. Two of three films I’m referring to here are David Cronenberg’s stunning The Fly, and John Carpenter’s ground-breaking The Thing.
Today’s movie recommendation, however, is a 1979 remake of a 1956 original which, although perhaps not quite scaling the heights of the Cronenberg and Carpenter movies I’ve just mentioned, is still an excellent example of a remake done right. I’m talking about Philip Kaufman’s 1978 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
Great new issue of the always excellent SCREAM magazine now available. As well as an interesting look back at the much misunderstood HALLOWEEN III, and articles on zombies and the MANIAC remake, there’s also plenty of EVIL DEAD (new and original) coverage including an interview with the mighty BRUCE CAMPBELL and with the director of the remake, FEDE ALVAREZ.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – SCREAM continues to feel like a mag for real connoisseurs of the genre. Whilst it does focus on current releases, there’s also always plenty that’ll interest the long-term, die hard horror fan too. Recommended!
If it seems as if I’m plugging SCREAM every issue, that’s because I am! It’s a great magazine, and worthy of the support. If you’re after flashy graphics, bog-standard news and reviews, and endless glossy pages full of photographs of vapid celebrities, then you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. But if you’re a real fan of the genre – past, present and future – then you’ll love SCREAM.
This month – an in-depth EVIL DEAD retrospective, a wealth of A SERBIAN FILM coverage (including a fascinating list of all 49 BBFC cuts), and much more.