There are SPOILERS ahead for The Ritual. So if you haven’t seen the Netflix supernatural horror film yet, you should do just that, and then head back to the article to learn about how director David Bruckner devised the conclusion.
Come the end of the “The Ritual” the four friends that have been stranded in the forest and attacked both mentally and physically by the monster that inhabits it have been reduced to just one in the shape of Rafe Spall’s Luke.
After breaking his thumbs to get free from his shackles, and then torching a hidden room of mummified corpses, Luke goes toe-to-toe with the monster, using just an axe as a weapon. During their bout, Luke finally retreats to the edge of the tree line, the boundary that the creature can’t cross, before then heading back to civilization.
The conclusion to the film works on a number of levels. Because as well as fending off the creature, Luke also confronts his mental anguish over his involvement, or lack thereof, in the death of his friend Rob. “The Ritual’s” director David Bruckner admitted as much when I recently quizzed him about the ending to the film over the phone.
“I think these things always work on a few metaphorical levels. Without going too specifically into what I get from it, the sense is that he is doing battle in a sense with subterranean and archetypes in his own spirit.”
“We thought that required and deserved a bit of spectacle. There’s something about it, I mean it’s Norse. It’s a tale of modern men walking into a Norse Viking nightmare. So they’re having to contend with things their ancestors contended with, and mythologies that were sculpted to sort of reflect their internal dilemmas.”
”I think that particular Scandinavian flavor deserved that kind of spectacle. Because this was the kind of movie where we had to get a sense of scale by the end of it. That’s reflected in the forest and in the monster. That’s stuff that we explored throughout the process.”
You can check out further tidbits from my discussion with David Bruckner regarding “The Ritual” by clicking here, while the film is now available to watch on Netflix.