The ritual is one of the best horror films that have ever hit Netflix. Following the story of four old college friends who go walking to Sweden and quickly find something exotic about the ancient trees, this film blends elements of human suspense, psychological dread and a beast that is entirely different from anything we have ever seen.
If you saw this video, it’s probably good that the creature is what you expect … Even though you’re not sure what it was.
We meet five men named Phil, Dom, Hutch, Luke and Rob at the start of the film. We soon found out they were friends since school, but Luke is lagging behind his friends while most have jobs, goals and some sort of success. He seems more interested in drinking and party than in fulfilling experiences, or in the fact that he is no longer a young man. It’s actually his desire for another bottle that lands him and Rob, in the middle of a robbery liquor shop. The robbers beat Rob to death, while Luke, paralyzed, can not help his friend.
The others go on a hiking trip in Sweden to honor their friend. You follow the King’s Trail, and once you get to the end you have a little wake for your friend. Make a small shrine, drink and say how much they miss him. However, on her way back, Dom falls and hurts her knee. They are all eager to return to civilization by going off the path and through the forest.
The more they go, the more dark things become. They stumble over a ritually impaled animal in a tree and have to shelter from the rain storm in a cottage. Something follows them, and they all have terrible nightmares after the first night. Luke wakes up in his chest with a strange mark, as if he had been stabbed four times. They’re terrified and stressed, they go on. Bickering erupts and bitterness comes out when friendship bonds are broken, but the stalking creature begins to select them one by one. Until Luke and Dom go to another wooded cottage … just to be captured.
Once taken, we start to realize that while Dom was not, Luke was marked with the creature. We also start to understand that these people, this cult, worship Luke’s monster. The unmarked was killed … Sacrifices impaled in the trees, just like the beast that friends saw previously. The creature wants those who have had real pain, like Luke, and it gives them some sort of peace … and a lifetime far beyond that of an ordinary human being. All they have to do is kneel.
When Luke asks what he is, one of his adorers tells him they don’t dare to speak his name. But it’s one of the Jotun … Loki’s child.
The novel on which the film is based gives the beast a certain name. Modor, such is called. Modor, this is called. Such name may be the mother’s word ancient English and ancient Norse which gives credence to the idea that this creature relates to Shubb-Niggurath, Lovecraft’s Black Goat With A Thousand Young. This possible explanation is being discussed by Found Flix.
In the film, however, the name of the creature is never given. This departure from the book (let alone, yet exceptional for our purposes) excludes Lovecraft’s connection. The creature is a Jotun and is connected to the elements, with nature and with the wild as a thing of giant blood. This is a kid of Loki, who also explains the illusions we see and their impermanent, shapeless nature. The creature, however, also appears to be able to run extremely quickly and has control over the directions. We also see it impaling its sacrifices and hanging them on the trees. And when towards the end it reveals itself, we see something curious.The creature looks like it has eight legs.
This Loki child, an eight legged grotesque beast, looks a lot like an elk or a rennet… Yet like a horse, it could be ridden. Particularly by another god. And it may be that little Jotun gives such sacrifices to another… The god of the hanged, and the crucified, to Odin.
But is this monstrous Sleipnir creature? Well, not officially, the director said. Bruckner never called the creature by name in an interview with Collider. He refers to it in the most general terms possible, thinking of the challenges of reforming the gods of the old world and how difficult it was to create the iconic presence that they managed.
Would the creature be merely an unknown giant who forgets about the old world? It might be. But, if so, why do you drop his dad’s name? Especially if Loki had just four monstrous kids… And most of them at Ragnarok meet their ends.
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