31 Nights of Horror

31 Nights of Horror – The Ritual (2017)

Ch-ch-ch-kah-kah-kah. Get ready for a whole lotta’ that because we’re going camping and we’re getting lost, of course and someone’s probably gonna’ die. We meet Phil, Dom, Rob, Luke and Hutch on an ill-fated evening at the pub. The friends are talking about a hiking trip into the wilds of Sweden but ultimately decide against this. The evening at a close, Luke and Rob decide on a trip to a liquor store where they are robbed and Rob suffers a severe beating. Luke, gripped with fear is incapable of helping his friend and instead witnesses the grisly attack from his hiding spot. In the aftermath of Rob’s death, the group decides to take that hiking trip after all to honor their departed friend.

The group treks out to Sarek National Park, 760 square miles of peaks, glaciers, turbulent streams and zero marked trails. I’ve never been, I looked it up to see what we were getting into here but this park doesn’t sound like it’s made for amateurs. Almost immediately, one of the group biffs it and gets injured forcing the group to make the most logical decision of veering off course to complete the hike in half the time. Wait, I lied, that’s the worst possible decision they could have made. This new trail leads them straight into an eviscerated elk hanging from trees and is littered with odd symbols and paintings. The group stumbles upon a deserted cabin and decides to take shelter in it to escape the rain that of course, has started to come down in sheets. After a sleepless night haunted with nightmares, the group sets out deeper into the woods. Eventually, we start to catch glimpses of the being that is hiding in the woods and tormenting the group. It can he heard rushing through the trees after the group. Hutch becomes separated from his mates and becomes the creature’s first victim. His body is found some time later in the same condition as the elk. At this point, enough folklore and superstition has been peppered in that we know the creature is somehow related to Norse mythology. We all know how I feel about Norse mythology – that shit’s real. Phil is the next friend to be taken just as the group discovers the presence of more people living in a small settlement in the woods. Luke and Dom make a run for them only to be taken captive by the Swedish hillbillies, infinitely more terrifying than American hillbillies. One of the hillbillies tells Luke that Jotunn is the creature that has been pursuing them and they can either submit to the cult or be sacrificed. Luke escapes captivity, burns the cabin and the cult-members to the ground and makes a run for it. Jotunn is in pursuit and tries to cripple Luke with memories of him not being able to save Rob from the beating. Luke overcomes the creature and stumbles into a field and onto a paved road that was apparently like a city block away from where they were lost.

I enjoyed it but I also tend to be interested in anything to do with mythology. I didn’t think that Jotunn was nearly as creepy as he could have been and it was hard to determine if he was really there or if Luke was just tormented by his inaction at Rob’s death. Did he need the creature to torture himself or was he already ridden with his own guilt. It’s interesting that his friends partly blamed him for Rob’s death and now he is the only survivor of their hiking trip, I imagine that his nightmares will only get worse.

Mix Zapf with Veljovic and get quirky Beziers.

2 Comments

  • nscovell

    There’s been a great deal of fantasy/horror legend films that have been made in recent years like Trollhunter, Thale The Hollow and now this. It’s a promising sub genre.

    • quitesimplystella

      Trollhunter is on my watch list! I’ll have to check out the others, I definitely enjoy the premise.

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