III: The Ritual

III: The Ritual, from director Pavel Khvaleev, is, apparently, about two sisters living in a small, plague-riddled European town. Their mother has just died, and now the younger of the two sisters is also dying, leaving Polina Davyadova’s Aya little choice but to use a strange, ancient ritual if she wishes to save her sister’s life.

Not that I’d know any of that from the first three minutes, of course. But, whatever.

What the fuck did I just watch?

The movie opens with three scenes in three minutes, consisting of a total of three shots. Dude hittin’ his head against the wall in some unpadded room while people speak all creepy-like in a foreign language. Then, he’s wakin’ up in the dirt in the middle of the woods, drinking from a bowl like he’s dying from thirst but also knows the bowl is right there and not filled with piss or whatever. And then, suddenly he’s poppin’ out of a lake and onto a boat. And he’s just as confused as I am about all of this.

I’m not even mad. Just really confused.

Like, I understand that this dude is supposed to be this victim who’s just been used in some mysterious ritual, or somethin’. But nothing happened. Guy hits his head on a wall, guy wakes up in the dirt, guy climbs up in a boat. That’s it. No ritual. Nothin’. Just a white line in the ground and a bowl. And I can’t even see the full circle, or whatever. Cuz all of this is done in a single take in single shots from the same boring angle. Head, wall, dirt, boat. What the hell kind of ritual is that?

A stupid one. A stupid ritual in a stupid movie. That kind of ritual.

Someone thought this sequence of non-events was the best way to open a movie. The best way to hook an audience and keep ‘em around for the next 90 minutes. Someone thought that. And they were wrong. Dead wrong. Because now all I’m thinking about is how the rest of this movie is going to be a bunch of creepy talking in a language I don’t understand happening off-screen while a bunch of nothing happens from the same goddamn camera angle. For 90 minutes. But someone thought that, turned it into a movie, and I just watched it. And I’m not gonna lie–I’m a little upset right now.

I rate the first ten minutes of III: The Ritual a “I’ve seen better shit on YouTube” out of ten.

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