When we were in Toronto covering the film festival, we had the pleasure of meeting those involved in horror flick The Ritual, including the brains behind the project; director David Bruckner and screenwriter Joe Barton. In other words, the two men responsible for scaring us silly.
We discuss the casting of Rafe Spall in the lead role, and the challenges in writing horror – while the pair tell us whether or not they are able to feel scared watching their own project back. With similarities to The Blair Witch Project, the duo also explain why there are benefits from not having the burden of telling this tale through supposed ‘found footage’. Finally, we spoke to Joe about My Days of Mercy, a rather different film, also playing in Toronto this year.
After the devastating murder of a member of their close-knit group, four former university friends decide to take a hiking trip in the Swedish wilderness to honour his memory. Luke (Rafe Spall) is still reeling from having witnessed the violent death of his best friend during an off-licence robbery while hiding from the attackers. Feeling guilty about the events, and dejected by how he is perceived by the rest of the group, Luke agrees to make the trip he was dead-set against, in the hope that it might bring him some closure. As the group, which is also made up of Hutch (Robert James-Collier), Phil (Arsher Ali) and Dom (Sam Troughton), make their way through the arduous Swedish wilderness, they have to make a change to their initial plans when Dom falls and hurts his knee in the process.
The seemingly friendly jabs and laddish banter suddenly turn into blame and recrimination when the group find themselves lost deep in the forest unable to find their way out. After a night in an abandoned cabin, the group start to believe that there is something altogether evil haunting their dreams and hunting them in real life. Facing up to his own fears, Luke must find a way to help his friends out of this mess and hopefully start to finally forgive himself for not stepping in to help he murdered friend.
The Ritual is released in cinemas across the UK on October 13th. You can read our full review here.