the ritual
via Netflix

An unsettling supernatural horror saved from obscurity by Netflix battles beasts of myth and legend on streaming

Netflix took and under-the-radar chiller and turned it into a cult favorite.

Horror has never been regarded as Netflix’s strongest suit, and while there have been more than a few gems concocted by the brain trust who approve filmmakers getting their hands dirty in the blood and guts of scary cinema, it was the acquisition of The Ritual that proved to be one of the streamer’s shrewdest moves.

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Made for a modest budget and shot on location in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, the supernatural terror finds four longtime but increasingly distant friends reuniting after the tragic demise of one of their number. Paying tribute to his memory, they set out on a hike through the isolated wilderness, before eventually stumbling into an ominous forest that contains an ancient evil lurking within.

Fans praise cryptid film The Ritual
Image: Netflix

Making the most of its limited resources, The Ritual was dripping in atmosphere and underlying dread, while the full-blown detour into mythological territory towards the end was as unexpected as it was welcome. After premiering at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and causing quite the stir, Netflix swooped in to secure the distribution rights for a cool $4.75 million.

Dropped onto the library five months later, The Ritual has now firmly established its credentials as one of the platform’s most popular in-house nightmares, even though it ironically wasn’t designed with the intention of being an original. Things could have gone a lot differently had the streamer not stepped in, then, but FlixPatrol has underlined that the film is never going to be too far away from the conversation when it comes to subscribers settling on which intensely unyielding tale they choose to watch.


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