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Produced in 2000 and (wisely) kept out of the public eye for half a decade is The Ritual, an Irish occult thriller that's, frankly, as bad as movies get. Unearthed for some unknown reason by little-known schlockhouse Echelon Entertainment and wedged into a seriously chintzy DVD package, this thing is an absolute chore to sit through.
Produced mega-cheap on the Emerald Isle and starring nobody you've ever heard of, The Ritual is the tale of the "Danu Amulet," and all the goofy idiots who want it for their own reasons. There's Nessa, the open-minded archaeologist, Magda, who commits murder and employs mercenaries to track the artifact down, a few clueless cops, and a bunch of random nobodies. It's all very dry and drab, trust me. Low budgets and mediocre ideas I can handle, but this dizzying display of amazingly amateurish filmmaking is one for the ages.
Writer/director Simon Linscheid must have scrawled this script together in a weekend full of beer and Prozac; the acting performances are hilariously ripe and off-kilter; the story itself is endlessly slow and entirely bereft of thrills and/or chills... Is The Ritual a drama? A thriller? An adventure flick? A completely improvised series of limericks and haikus? Aside from a good ol' Unintentional Comedy, I've no idea what this movie is.
Bottom Line: You've never heard of it, you'll never rent it, and you certainly won't miss it. Perhaps of merit only as incontrivertible proof that atrocious "do-it-yourself" filmmaking is not an exclusively American commodity, The Ritual is a truly and harrowingly inept little indie.
Video: If you think the movie sounds bad, well, the transfer's even worse. Delivered in a splotchy and squooshed fullscreen presentation, the thing's an absolute eyesore.
Audio: My DVD player tells me it's a 2-channel LPCM track, which is not something I see all that often. Basically, the whole flick sounds like the inside of a tin can.
Extras: There's a menu screen with one option: PLAY
Bad, bad, bad movie. Not fun-bad, not good-bad, just bad. The script, the pacing, the acting, the story, the transfer, the DVD case, all of it. Bad.