Long Walks Through The Swedish Forest

By: Isaac P. Ale
October 05, 2021

the ritual 2 The Ritual [2018]


Clearly I needed to start my Spooktober off with a nice low key horror film, so why not take a stroll through the Swedish forest? The 2018 film, The Ritual, gives another retread on the The Blair Witch Project equation; group of people + creepy woods = dreadful camping experience.

But this film takes on a couple more elements that really mold the characters into connectable people that makes for a fairly interesting viewing.

Our journey begins with our gregarious gaggle of guys deciding what to do for Dom's (Sam Troughton) bachelor party. After they, for some reason unbeknownst to me, turn down the idea of drinking 42% beers in Belgium (again how do you say no to that), their group come to terms with embarking on a hiking trip through Sweden. But their fun-filled night quickly comes to an end when Luke (Rafe Spall) convinces Robert (Paul Reid) to go into a convenience store with him, where a robbery goes wrong and Rob is tragically murdered.

What's so well done in the film is the constant omnipresence of this moment in Luke's journey with his friends going forward. In addition to all of the oddities and supernatural strangeness occuring in the Swedish forest, Luke is tortured with what could've been if he had somehow saved Rob. Just like the gang trying to survive against some powerful force in the woods, there was nothing Luke could've done in the store to save Rob. So not only do you feel hopeless and helpless for the group in the woods but for Luke and his emotional state throughout the whole movie as well, a great layering of dread.

On top of the emotional weightiness of Luke and the group that is interwoven into the overarching narrative, the score is a huge positive. There's nothing that adds more to a horror-thriller-mystery than an impeccable score, and Ben Lovett delivers with an eerie score for the ages. There's nothing quite like seeing Luke, Dom, Hutch (Robert James-Collier), and Phil (Arsher Ali) walking through the vast expanse of the forest amidst all of the terror lurking at every turn and hearing Lovett's score chill you to your bones.

While this certainly isn't the greatest horror movie nor is as good as its distant source material, The Blair Witch Project, it does pack some great "edge of your seat" thrills and a few really terrifying moments. Not to mention it boasts having one of the creepier monster designs I've seen -- it looks great on screen, too! I'm hesitant to add a picture of it since its reveal is a cool moment in the film, along with some slight glimpses that rattle the bones a bit.

Lesson of the day: when you have to make a decision between drinking 42% beers in Belgium or hiking through the Swedish wilderness...

Go to fucking Belgium.


Now this little diddy has been sitting in my fridge for quite some time. Mostly because it was summertime and I refuse to drink a dark stout on a beautiful, sunny, hot day.

It just doesn't feel right.

So I waited for my time to strike and oh, this was the perfect day for it. Nothing but overcast grey and rain to put me in the mood for a thriller and a dark hearty stout.

Enter stage right -- the Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout from Big Sky Brewing. Immediately upon pour my nose was flooded with what I can only describe as one of the best smelling beers I've ever laid the sniffer on. It was an aroma full of chocolate, fresh baked bread, malt and coffee; all of which were mixed perfectly together. Not to mention it looked great a nice dark color with a great foamy head. But maybe I'm tooting my own horn on my pouring ability.

With everything going for it right out of the gate, I was mildly disappointed in the taste. While it is a silky smooth drink with some solid flavors of chocolate, oat, and malt it wasn't anything near as fulfilling as I was expecting. It's certainly a drinkable stout, but it doesn't have a real solid body behind all the aesthetic appeal, it feels light on taste and mouthfeel to me.

Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout
Big Sky Brewing
Stout - American | 5.4% ABV

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