“Evil was, he decided, inevitable, relentless and predictable. Imaginative, he’d give it that much, but soulless.” – Luke
What starts out as a hiking holiday in Scandinavia, turns into disaster for four friends. After a rough start that leaves two of the friends in need of an end to the hike, the leader of the group, Hutch, decides to lead them through a forest on a shortcut. They stumble upon an old building covered in artifacts that point to a ritualistic custom. Their trespass into this ancient and untouched forest awakens something. The four friends learn that not all shortcuts are short and that leaving the forest isn’t as easy as they thought.
What a fucking ride! Having seen the movie last year, I did have a sense of what I was getting myself into. While I did enjoy the movie adaptation, the movie did not come close to capturing the psychology of what Luke and his friends went through. The physical and mental trauma that Luke endured again and again, and the personal transformation that he went through while reexamining his life is the true horror of this story. That is not to say that the forest and what lies within it are not terrifying as well.
As a read alike, I would recommend The Hike by Drew Magary. While The Hike does take a more strange turn than The Ritual, both involve a physical journey that leaves the participants changed.
Read: 3/30/2020 – 4/10/2020
Release date: February 14, 2012
Page count: 417