Who Knew Voodoo?
Greetings, ReelTalk visitors. Today it's my pleasure to interview the one and only Cryptkeeper about a film called Ritual. You may remember this bag of bones from the popular HBO program "Tales from the Crypt." Once a pop culture icon, the ol' Cryptkeeper kind of disappeared from the horror scene after two so-so "Crypt" movies and the show's cancellation. But now he's back with this third cinematic scary tale. How's it going today, CK?
CK: I'm having a delightfully decaying day, Mr. Hakari. And hello to your readers as well. How's it going, boils and ghouls?
AH: I see you haven't lost your knack for puns! What've you been up to since audiences last saw you?
CK: Oh, I've done a little acting work here and there. I was in a stage production of "State Fair" last year in Ohio. I always enjoy doing a bit of summer stalk.
AH: Oh, boy...
CK: Ahem. Sorry. I'll try to cut back on those.
AH: Thanks. Anyway, tell the readers a little more about Ritual.
CK: Ah, yes, Ritual. This little spookfest has actually been floating around since 2001. We only found distribution recently, and even then we only got a straight-to-DVD release.
AH: That's not good news. But the flick's not a complete dud, is it?
CK: Nah, not really. The movie's not that bad, but I have to admit at times it's dead in the water...Oops, sorry. I just can't seem to resist these puns.
AH: No problem, CK. But please go on with your description of Ritual.
CK: Will do, my carnivorous critic comrade. It's actually a remake of that horror gems from the '40s, I Walked with a Zombie. The time and setting have been updated, of course, and a nice coat of gore has been applied, but the story remains pretty much the same. Jennifer Grey plays Alice Dodgson, a young doctor whose license is temporarily revoked after a patient dies under her care. Luckily, she quickly finds employment in sunny Jamaica, hired by wealthy businessman Paul Claybourne (Craig Sheffer) to tend to his sick brother Wesley (Daniel Lapaine). But the dude has no ordinary sickness. He believes he's the victim of dark voodoo magic, that an evil force is bent on turning him into a zombie -- not the flesh-munching kind, mind you, but rather of the brainwashed, easily manipulated variety. Alice believes it's all a bunch of hocus pocus, until people around her start to mysteriously die, after which she teams up with a local woman (Kristen Wilson) to investigate the murders and figure out who's casting a spell on Wesley.
AH: That doesn't sound to bad to me, especially the part about having such an atmospheric film as its source material.
CK: I know, but between you and me, it's not one of the better tales from the crypt. Ritual begins well enough, with an especially ghastly and gory scene featuring character actor Erick Avari meeting a grisly fate, but soon, it becomes a predictable mystery with less meat on its bones than me! YEEE-heheheheh!!!
AH: Geez, don't scare me like that! I forgot all about your laugh...Anyway, so the story was easy to figure out?
CK: As transparent as the Invisible Man, Mr. Adam. The setting was alright, and a couple of the actors actually turned in some decent performances (in an extended cameo, Tim Curry spends most of his time drinking and chasing after women -- why didn't I get his part?!), but on the whole, Ritual is a mediocre horror flick with mediocre thrills and mediocre acting. I swear on my own tombstone, there were times when I thought Catwoman was even scarier!
AH: Wow, that's not good. Sorry to hear Ritual is such a blah flick.
CH: Well, at least it wasn't a complete waste of time to make. I got to bask in the sun for a while and work on my tan. (*Lifts up skeletal arm.*) Think I overdid it?
MY RATING: ** (out of ****)
(Released by Dimension Films and rated "R" for violence, language and some sexuality.)