Rituals (1977)

(In theaters, June 2008) There are good things about this low-budget exploitation film: The idea of putting five medical professionals far away in Northern Ontario, then making them face against a mysterious killer in a grueling contest of survival horror, definitely has potential even through the Deliverance and Blair Witch Project flashbacks. Hal Holbrook makes a capable hero, and the scenery can be breathtaking. Unfortunately, this grueling contest of survival horror soon extends to the viewers as the film drags on, and on, and on. The increasingly unsatisfying ending (which is content not explaining anything) does little to explain the terrible coincidences that would be necessary to make the story work, and provide more strangeness than satisfaction in how it stages the final showdown between survivors and tormentors. There are reportedly no plans to make this film available on DVD: despite a few good things here and there, I’m not sure that this is much of a loss.

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