Its time for the next double feature. This time we are looking at two Netflix Original movies. Both are in the horror/thriller categories as well. As our second R selection, it went to The Ritual, which to be honest was a surprise addition due to movie night choices. Moving right along with the alphabet, we landed on S selection being The Silence. Two movies that looked pretty good but one worked better than the other.
Let’s check it out!
The Ritual (2017)
Director: David Bruckner
Cast: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton, Paul Reid
A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them. – IMDB
The Ritual is a mix of supernatural and back country kind of horror thriller. Its one of those situations where the characters all seem to have their own story behind this trip and because of it, its definite that the drama will cause them to break at some point. At the same time, its always these decisions that some characters will make some bad decisions and get into some trouble. I spent a lot of the first bit having a whole discussion of when its time to GTFO but of course, if they did, we wouldn’t have the movie (at least a shorter version).
Thing is, as much as I say that some decisions were illogical, The Ritual is one of the more solid horror flicks coming out of Netflix Originals selection. One of it has to do with the fact that its characters have some contrast. While there are a few too many that some don’t truly have their purpose, they each have their own issues to deal with in the spectrum of the story. In some ways, it feels a bit like everything happens with too much coincidence (ex. some guy twists his ankle right at the start of the trek) and then they still decide to go forward instead of backwards. Various other signs of addressing the dangers around them as well happen. However, deal is once the ominous bits start, its atmosphere builds the tension up and that is the saving grace of the film. It also has to do with a fantastic sense of lore, that I wish was a little deeper especially since the dangers we see are done in a timely fashion, revealed bit by bit to execute a good level of suspense.
The Ritual might have some lack of depth and a bit of it feels like its on rails but it does so well in execution and atmosphere building, using the terrain and the forest that these friends are lost in that its easy to forgive a lot of the other stuff and be immersed in this increasing suspense and horror and wondering what will happen next.
The Silence (2019)
Director: John R. Leonetti
Cast: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, Kate Trotter, John Corbett, Kyle Breitkopf, Dempsey Bryk, Billy MacLellan
When the world is under attack from terrifying creatures who hunt their human prey by sound, 16-year old Ally Andrews (Kiernan Shipka), who lost her hearing at 13, and her family seek refuge in a remote haven. – IMDB
The Silence is one of those films that (I think) landed during a phase of that overly used in a short amount of time idea of being stuck in a post-apocalyptic world where one certain sense is over reliant. In this case, its about being silent and the sense of hearing and survival. This horror film can be best described as a movie that starts off pretty strong but goes has a massive downward spiral as it crashes in the final act and then ends the film in a fairly abrupt way. Its not so much as a bad film as much as its a disappointing one. The main issue had to be with the final act when a new danger element adds into the already existing factors. It just felt unnecessary.
With that said, there was some elements that did work such as the sound design and the creature design. At the same time, Stanley Tucci is such an underrated actor and its great to see him in a lead role. Between him and even young actress Kiernan Shipka who plays his daughter, and I’d say the starting group of family and John Corbett as his best buddy, they all set a good foundation for all the characters involved. It was when some new characters get added in near the end that really gave the story a weird turn of events.
There isn’t much to say about The Silence. In some ways, a lot of its separate elements work and there are some moments that also work fairly well. However, its those moments that felt useless or added very little to the story that make the execution fall apart. For myself, the ending just didn’t quite cut it especially with the lackluster segment before that and the people they encounter before the finale.
That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two films? Thoughts?