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Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Canadian wilderness. After all but one pair of the party's shoes disappear, the remaining shoed camper decides to hike out and go look for help. Soon after he leaves, however, his four companions realizes that something is very wrong when someone leaves a decapitated deer head just outside their camp. Even though they still don't have their shoes, they decide to follow their friend's trail out of the woods, but their path is blocked by someone who doesn't want to see them leave the forest alive. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Towards the end of the film, when Harry's character is dragging the stretcher over rocky terrain, you can clearly see he is wearing boots. They were supposed to have had their boots stolen and had to wrap their feet in plastic tarp. See more »
Well, there's worse things in life than powdered milk, I suppose.
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Hal Holbrook sits on the road as the sun rises with his back to the camera, which moves away from him as the end credits roll. See more »
Not perfect, but still an effectively haunting backwoods thriller.
Five doctor friends go hiking in the wilderness where they are stalked and terrorized by an unseen killer.
Rituals, also known as The Creeper, is a rather forgotten and underrated early slasher flick. While the premise may seem like the formula, stereotype backwoods killer story this film actually came along before the time of Friday the 13th and its countless followers. Rituals really owes its inspiration in part to Deliverance, but it is hardly the rip-off of that classic movie that some critics would have you think. It has a gritty, low budget atmosphere and some effectively nightmarish moments in its plot (head on a stick, anyone?). The film is also rather gruesome, particularly in the rare uncut version of the film. It has plenty of creepy mood to keep it from being the routine slasher outing.
However there are a few flaws. First, in all versions of the film that I've ever seen the lighting in the climax of the movie is so dim that it's difficult to understand what is happening. Second, the plot is very thinly written and the characters aren't sympathetic in the slightest. Also, the editing is very rough.
Never the less, the effective atmosphere and chills come to the rescue and save this woodsy slasher. Not bad, but best enjoyed by the dedicated horror fans.
** 1/2 out of ****
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