“Ritual” (known elsewhere as Modus Anomali” is a very interesting Indonesian film. I don’t remember where I heard about it, and you can search the internet for info on it, but you will come up awfully short. As for our director, Joko Anwar, you can search for him and come up pretty short also.
Maybe I don’t know how to use the internet, though.
“Ritual” starts out with a man buried alive in the ground in a desolate forest. He wakes up, disoriented and confused. He checks his cell phone, no contacts are listed. No previous calls. He checks his wallet, and he finds an ID card and a family picture featuring two children. He wanders through the woods, and finds a cabin. Outside of the cabin is a SUV truck. Inside the cabin, he finds a snuff film with a pregnant girl being killed by an obscured man. Who is she? Who is he? Where are the children? What has happened here?
Sounds like the premise of a million horror films, huh?
I assure you, it’s very different.
I would tell you more about the plot, but it would ruin the entire movie. There are so many twists and turns in Anwar’s film that it literally feels like you are gong a mile a minute. The pacing of this movie is brilliant, as it never seems like it is dragging. However, if you are a person (like my wife) that cannot stand it when a movie gives you zero clues, and has a grand finale, you will be irritated. Personally, I like it when a film doesn’t show its cards until the final act. You spend the whole film guessing and wondering where the story is going. It’s an old trick, but it is also very effective.
But don’t think that this is some one trick pony, because it’s far from it.
The budget for “Ritual” was around $200,000, which definitely puts it in low-budget territory. But it never feels cheap, and the acting is fantastic throughout the movie. There isn’t a whole lot of dialogue, but what is there, is obviously dubbed. But it never gets distracting. Our main character, John (played by Rio Dewanto) goes through quite a few changes, and his skill as an actor is very apparent. The camera work is top-notch, and all of the gore and kills are seemingly done with practical effects. Which is an added bonus, since many of the movies that are in this range, use cheap CGI that “takes you out of the movie”.
I highly recommend this film, if you can find it. A truly great film from under the radar.