In the Norse mythology there are various numbers of Gods and Goddesses – that according to the ancient stories touched these lands and left behind tales of greatness and also despair.
In a time when information was immortalized on runes and pieces of wood, leather and even weapons – there were worshipers who – more or less – chose a path to describe their own personality. Their stories circulated orally from generation to generation but soon – with the development of writing and using collections of papers to comprise a certain genre of written work – books about their culture and mythology began to appear.
In movies we mostly see those who worship an ancient God that is evil, demands sacrifices and human slaves. Can’t say it isn’t catchy…
Netflix’s “The Ritual” brings forth one of these kinds of stories. After a tragic incident – 4 old friends decide to remember their lost partner by going hiking in the untouched lands of Northern Sweden.
There are some scenes that describe the beauty of the Northern Europe which are simply breathtaking. The mist above the old forests, the colors of the painted ancient hills and rocks, the vastness of natural formations, you almost feel like belonging there.
After deciding to take a shortcut through the forests – they end up in a wooden house where they discover a pagan altar – which not only seems totally wrong – but induces notes of black magic. Throughout the ages – the Nordic people used sea magic, dream magic, military magic and other genres which were required at a certain point. Above all – magic was used to perform incantations that were meant to bring positiveness and high energies into the shaping of their destinies.
“The Ritual” tells another story. Being in the same cabin with the altar – the forces there are able to enter their minds and by recreating their worst nightmares – takes over their fears.
The movies is constructed as a investigative journey – in order to find a way out of the woods. At a certain point – the deity living among the old trees reveals to them. Not only it reveals but starts hunting them as well.
It needed them to bow down and accept its greatness… as seen later in the movie. The thing about evil deities is that they have this desire to be acknowledged, to be worshiped, to be put on a pedestal, to receive offerings, have the inferior races understand its greatness.. But since it is materialized and somewhat humanized – it has its flaws and limits. It knows that it isn’t indestructible – so the creature uses manipulation to obtain power. It can’t get out of the forest- its powers are limited to the tainted collection of trees.
It is a story of survival – and it is well constructed.
As usual – Netflix brings forth another jewel for the screen. I highly recommend the movie.