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Ritual, The

Director:  David Bruckner
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  1.5

Luke (Rafe Spall), troubled by his failure to come to the aid of a friend who was killed in a liquor store robbery, goes on a hike with four of his other pals in scenic Sweden where they get hopelessly lost in the woods and find themselves hunted down by a mythical beast (that looks like a giant, boney horse). I get that Luke's lingering guilt manifesting itself as supernatural horror is the underlying 'basis' of the movie, but it doesn't take the premise anywhere out of the urban-dummies-making-poor-decisions-in-nature manual: after the remainder of his buds are 'sacrificed,' he manages to save his own behind (yet again), suggesting that once you're a coward, you're always a coward. This is the second Netflix new release that came out this year (The Open House being the other) with a feel-bad ending: did everyone forget that screenwriting rule about finishing strong?

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