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A group of anthropology students take a road trip to the family ranch of one of them for a weekend of drinking and taking drugs, the latter under the pretense of researching ancient rituals. They run in trouble, however, because the brother that lives on the seemingly abandoned premises displays disturbing behavior in his search for a "bride" and a stranger named Delgado turns up to enact revenge for a misdeed in the past by one of the students. Written by
THE FINAL RITES (aka RITES OF PASSAGE) is a very strange little movie. It involves a group of high school students who are being taught about esoteric Native American drugs by their slick teacher. One of the students has an elder brother who experiments with these narcotics, which turns him into a psychopath. Inevitably a group of the students go away for the weekend for a beach holiday and find themselves being menaced by all and sundry.
There's a definite sense here that the story was being made up as they went along. Certainly it seems to make little sense and by the end it's fallen apart entirely, so the "narrative" consists of characters killing each other off until only the final survivors are left. The first half of the film, which is the build up, is actually mildly enjoyable, so it's a pity that the it goes absolutely nowhere come the end.
Three famous faces are mixed up in this mess. Wes Bentley plays virtually the same likable loner/weirdo character as he did in American BEAUTY. Stephen Dorff shows up as a cool teacher who's down with the kids, and strips off to show his buff body when required. Then there's an almost unrecognisable Christian Slater, hilariously playing a demented psychopath who just wants to kill everybody. His interactions with a sock puppet bring to mind the PG Tips adverts in the UK starring Johnny Vegas and Monkey. It's all very silly and relatively bloodless, meaning there's not much here for the viewers.
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