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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Pavel Khavaleev

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

Every once in a while a film comes along that grabs your attention, III: THE RITUAL is one of those films.

When sisters Aiya (Polina Davydova) and Mirra (Lyubov Ignatushko) lose their mother to illness, it soon falls on Mirra to receive the same fate. Aiya in desperation seeks the assistance of Father Herman (Evgeniy Gagarin) who may be the key to curing illness by playing God. Using a secret between God and the select few, the creation of a new world is that within the mind and by eradicating the core fear of a person's “world” can cure even severe of illness.

The sheer ambition and scope within Pavel Khvaleev’s tour-de-force is incomprehensible, from the opening moments in a rural Russian village, portraying a realm somewhere between Middle Earth and M. Night Shyamalan's village, THE RITUAL takes you to a journey that will easily provide not only an escape, but a mind bending trip that you may return a changed person.

Between its story of one sisters affection to another and its world engine, there is so much depth within Khvaleev’s film that it will stick in your mind for an eternity after. The performance between the trio is nothing short of magical holding the film between the emotion of the real world and the devastation and terror within the mind of the troubled.

And while THE RITUAL holds stronger than any other in the story it tells, it’s the visual experience it provides that will unnerve and amaze. Those familiar with the SILENT HILL gaming franchise will see more faithful echoes here than either of the films could have provided but beyond the impressive effects are some of the most terrifying creatures on film.

It’s difficult to find anywhere for this movie to improve and only ask that it gets the recognition it deserves. Russia has not been noted for its selection of horror films with Wikipedia showing a measly 10 results and here’s hoping that Khvaleev will inspire more ground-breaking film making from an area of the globe which needs a voice in the horror community.

From it’s simple characters, to world creating physics, there is not a dull moment throughout THE RITUAL that leaves you immersed and intrigued as to what will follow, even at an 80 minute running time there is so much punch packed here that it will be difficult not to be knocked out cold. Not only one of the most original horror films of the last decade, but one that should be on the top of any horror enthusiasts to watch list.

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