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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 71: Tales From The Crypt: Ritual

Tales From The Crypt: Ritual
Dreaming in red

I was absolutely terrified of Tales From The Crypt when I was younger. Not because of the stories, but because of the Crypt Keeper. That puppet was really scary with his corpsey look and high-pitched squeals of delight. Now that I'm older, I can appreciate the sick humor of the Crypt Keeper, much in the same way that I can now laugh at Freddy Krueger. While it made it's name with the comic book and television show, TFTC also made 3 full-length movies. Time to dive into one I've never even heard of, Ritual.

Ritual follows Dr. Alice Dodgson (Jennifer Grey, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Dirty Dancing). Her medical license has been revoked after the accidental death of a young patient. Alice is haunted by her death and travels to Jamaica to be a personal physician for a very wealthy patient, Wesley Claybourne (Daniel Lapaine). Wesley's brother, Paul, informs Alice that Wesley believes he is a zombie, under the control of an Obeah (Jamaican version of Voodoo) curse. Alice soon realizes that Obeah is very real and begins to suffer from horrific hallucinations. She is aided in her research by Dr. Hope (Tim Curry, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Clue) and Caro (Kristen Wilson, Dr. Doolittle, Bulletproof). Under Alice's care, Wesley begins to show improvement. Caro also suffers from hallucinations and Dr. Hope is mysteriously murdered. Not is all as it seems and it's up to Alice to help Wesley. Who can she trust and how can she find a cure?

You got a little something...ehh, never mind

The movie says Tales From The Crypt, but there is absolutely no reference to the show or comic book. How can you have a TFTC movie and not have the Crypt Keeper? According to some research, because the previous movie, Bordello of Blood, did poorly at the box office, they removed references to TFTC. I was expecting something fun in the demented sense. I guess my version didn't include any of the references. Instead I got a boring voodoo-flavored movie that is more mystery than horror. The only horror that exists come in people's dreams and hallucinations. You figure out pretty quickly that that is the case, taking away any fear or excitement because you know it's not real. While there are some differences, the movie strongly reminds me of The Serpent and the Rainbow; White doctor goes to an island, thinks voodoo is fake, learns voodoo is very real, the police is corrupt, save the day.

Jennifer Grey does a decent job in her role, but unfortunately the movie is so low-budget, they couldn't give her a bra for multiple scenes. Kristen Wilson is quite good as the native Caro. Tim Curry is his usual eccentric self, but has a pretty minor role. Daniel Lapaine comes off as a bit doofy and it makes it hard for the audience to cheer for him. Ritual is one of those movies where you ask yourself, “Why don't the just move away?” The Serpent and the Rainbow answered that question when the main character made it back to the US, but was still attacked. I don't think that's the case in this movie, mostly because that would involve a creative, well-written story. Most of the movie is fairly boring with a few flourishes of psychological fear. That's certainly not enough to keep you entertained for a movie that is almost an hour and forty-five minutes long.

Hi! I'm in a better version you didn't watch! EEEEHEHEHEHE!

Ritual is a disappointment on multiple levels. There is no Crypt Keeper or any real reference to Tales From The Crypt. The story, supposedly based on I Walked With A Zombie, is boring and uninspired. The is little horror involved and the horror that does exist quickly becomes predictable. The acting is decent and the direction is fine, but it can't overcome a boring story. Save yourself the trouble and avoid Ritual.


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