III - The Ritual Review
Ever since I missed the premiere of III at Telluride Horror Show last year (an egregious error I plan on not repeating), I have been dying to see it. The mistake of missing two impactful horror films (this movie and the previously reviewed Bone Tomahawk) has led me to properly prepare the time allotted so my egregious error doesn't happen again. Efrit and I will do our very best to catch every second of screentime that we can this year as we attend our most anticipated horror show event. Telluride Horror Show was and is the most entertaining and rewarding horror experience we have the pleasure of attending and highly recommend it to anyone geographically able to go.
But on to III...This film was much of what I was hoping it would be and disappointing in other ways. The story follows a young woman who attempts to find a cure for her sister who is suffering the same ailment that took their mother. Her method of resolution is an incantation conducted by a priest that takes her to a spiritual realm.
The film's visuals and atmosphere most often reminded me of Silent Hill and The Cell. The score had moments of macabre levity that drew you in to the feelings of dread and sorrow. The undead-like creatures' jagged and uneven movements were more than familiar in style, but nonetheless effective. The landscapes, both in the physical and ethereal realms, were the true gem of the film and delivered the most emotional value.
The acting was well presented and our leads do a good job of conveying fear and despair, but the uneven pacing and droughts between genuine visual stimuli the film was most known for made it drag just when it felt like it was picking up. Even in the spiritual realm, it sometimes felt like nothing was being accomplished for our protagonist or the audience.
Like a morbid What Dreams May Come, the pacing, cultural symbolism, and outstanding yet sparing visuals left me appreciative of the film's intent and overall execution despite a failure to retain consistent execution throughout. The film's atmosphere of dread almost seemed to die down after the first act rather than elevate, and this drop in momentum inevitably led to a sense of disappointment creeping in out of the corners of respect.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 7/10