Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
What's it about
Dr Alice Dodgson (Jennifer Grey) journeys to the land of doobies and dreads to care for a man who is not feelin' too I-Rey, and may very well be under the spell of some strange voodoo.
Is it good movie?
Based (loosely) on the 1943 RKO classic I Walked with a Zombie, Ritual does away with pretty much anything that might have made that film good, opting instead to simply wallow in b-movie cheese. Touted as a Tales from the Crypt film, Ritualís association with the banner seems more like an afterthought than anything else. Gone is all the devilish black humor and goofy comic book charm both the original series and the first two films (Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood) had in spades - backbone elements of the Tales from the Crypt universe. Instead, what we have here is a film that seems desperate to cut it's losses, find a quick-buck audience and get written off come tax season.
The above statement should come as little surprise when you consider who's behind the whole mess. Released by Dimension Films - who we all know treat horror properties like Rick James treated cocaine - Ritualís ride to the big (read: small) screen has been a sordid and bumpy affair. Produced way back in 2001, the film has been languishing in genre purgatory for so long, that even if it stood a chance of being relevant or worthwhile back then, it most certainly is not now. The solution, I can only assume, was to slap the moniker of a dead but not entirely forgotten popular series (Tales from the Crypt) above the title and ship the f**ker out en mass to a hungry, mostly forgiving and presumably stupid horror crowd. Thanks.
This is all not to say that there arenít a few somewhat inspired moments to be found in Ritual; if you have the patience that is. At a 106 minutes, the film tends to meander a little, especially given its incredibly thin story and truncated character development, but it is occasionally (remember those patience, kids) punctuated by some nifty death scenes (melting guy) and a smattering of naked woman-flesh (Kristen Wilson).
Video / Audio
VIDEO: A fairly respectable 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer.
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1.
Nothing says special features like Spanish subtitles.
While itís not an altogether waste of time, Ritual is so instantly dated (cause it is) and forgettable that to recommend it as anything but a back-up rent to a back-up rent would be abusive on my part. Avoid it if you can.