Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tales from the Crypt Presents: Ritual

Director: Avi Nesher
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: 2006

Alice (Jennifer Grey, “Dirty Dancing”) is a New York City doctor who has a young patient about to die. She wants to use an experimental drug, but the other doctors keep shooting her down so she uses the drug anyway. The little girl dies and Alice finds herself without a job and without a license. She finds an unusual job taking care of a sick man in Jamaica and takes off.

Paul Claybourne (Craig Sheffer, “One Tree Hill”) introduces her to his younger brother Wesley (Daniel Lapain, “Brokedown Palace”) who suffers from a rare disorder, but Wesley claims that he’s actually a zombie. She also meets Matthew (Tim Curry, “IT”), a former doctor turned veterinarian and Caro (Kristen Wilson, “Doctor Doolittle”) who mainly walks around half-dressed and seems to know everyone’s business.

Alice tries her hardest to help Wesley recover from his illness, but it’s hard given that he refuses to admit that he has a problem. He seems convinced that dark voodoo turned him into a zombie and that modern medicine cannot cure his problem. Naturally, she falls in love with him and decides to do whatever possible to help him. At the same time, she finds herself confronted with the dark underbelly of Jamaican voodoo.

“Ritual” is one of those movies that I literally stumbled across by accident. I didn’t even realize that Tales from the Crypt did a third movie, but when I saw the words Jennifer Grey and horror film, I knew I had to watch it. Here’s my secret confession: as much as I love horror movies, “Dirty Dancing” ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. It just goes to show you that deep down I’m a girly-girl.

The movie comes across as really low budget, even for a TFTC movie. I have no clue if they actually filmed in Jamaica, but I would guess not because the movie spends a lot of time inside buildings or filming outside in close-up shots. On the plus side, there are a few good actors here. Sheffer does a great job of playing a concerned brother who might be a douche bag, while Curry is equal parts creepy and funny. Watching him parade around in a souvenir tee shirt and baggy shorts is worth sitting through the entire movie.

Before writing the review, I did a little research and discovered that this was originally a planned TFTC film, but “Bordello of Blood” did so badly that the producers removed all references to TFTC from the movie. Apparently the movie hit foreign markets in 2001+, but didn’t land in the US until 2006, and the DVD version actually has the Cryptkeeper on it. I couldn’t tell you though because I watched it on Netflix.

This isn’t the type of horror film that you take seriously. The CGI effects offer a good laugh, especially anytime any character notices vines crawling all over them, and it has an ending that you will see coming from miles away. Despite all that, it did have a few good moments. I actually got a kick/laugh out of the actual ending, which offers a little comeuppance for the main villain of the film.

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