Ritual - Mini-series Review

Written & Directed by: #ElinMargaretaNordin

Starring: #VictorNascimento, #VonnyMcNamara, #PauloAragão, #AishaJacobWilliams

Series Review by Taryll Baker

Episodes watched: 2

Poster for Ritual

Ritual is a mini-series created by Elin-Margareta Nordin; debuting in 2018, though seemingly never continuing past the two episodes released. From the beginning of episode one, you can see this is a very low-budget project, and as it crosses over to episode two, strange happenings begin and intercut clips create a disorienting vibe that floods over everything and not in a good way. The episodes are jarring, no thanks to the very rough editing and poor narrative structure. There is little to no time to connect to any of the characters we’re presented, in fact the pacing is so unbelievably rushed that anything that does happen (including character deaths) feels completely unmoving.

Given the incredibly short duration of the two episodes, there really isn’t much time spent on establishing a story or themes, so we’re left with an abomination of haphazardly glued scenes that really lead nowhere. Ritual is set on being a mysterious thriller with horror elements, and you can see that vision well enough, but the execution is severely lacking. Nordin’s direction leaves a lot to be desired; actors are playing characters but judging by their shaky performances, have no understanding of their role in the story. Some of the writing is down-right forced and unrealistic by basic standards, and the killer element that was thrown in seems for nothing more than to shock.

This is likely a beginner piece for this cast and crew so I appreciate the stepping stone into filmmaking, but perhaps a more grounded story would be beneficial not only those involved, but for audiences alike. Ritual is emotionally, thematically and physically devoid of any connective intrigue for the viewer; there’s really nothing on show beyond the tacky (perhaps intentional?) edit and sloppy camerawork. It’s unfortunately very noticeable how this never got off the ground and turned into a longer series over the years, and even for something so low-budget, where something minuscule usually impresses me, it’s hard for me to grab at anything that I actually liked.

Ritual is missing a story. It’s missing a lot of things, but the one thing that every project requires, be it a film or series, is a story. From episode one through to episode two, I was lost and very, very confused. As the series rolls the credits, some reverse footage and audio plays out, but without explanation. The pieces of the puzzle are there, but with no one to place them where they fit. The best ritual would be to avoid this.

Watch the trailer for Ritual below.

- #TaryllBaker