New to rent and/or buy in the UK via video-on-demand platforms, is the horror anthology movie, The Red Book Ritual. The film – overseen by creative director Ariel Luque – stars Valeria San Martin, Marlene Pedersen Chauviere, and Austin Olcese, and follows the story of three friends, who play a spooky game involving a red book.
In the movie, Bea, Sophia, and Justin, gather around a table to take part in a supernatural game. As part of the activity, they recount five stories, most of which come from passages in the book.
The first of these stories (‘Stray’) involves a soldier, returning home from war to discover something is very wrong with his wife. The second story (‘Little One’) centres around a young couple, who encounter an unusual child while out on the road.
The third story (‘Nose, Nose, Nose, Eyes!’) focuses on a mother and daughter, who keep a man tied up in a bed in their home. Meanwhile, the fourth story (‘Release’) is about a young doctor haunted by a ghostly apparition, while the fifth and final story (‘The Sermon’) is centred around a religious cult.
As the trio of friends tell this quintet of tales, they find themselves encountering some unusual phenomena in their house. They then believe the only way to counteract this paranormal activity is to finish telling the stories from the book, in order to complete the game.
I really like a good horror anthology movie. They can be tricky things to pull off, what with all the different stories that are being told, but get them just right and they can be a lot of fun.
So, it brings me no pleasure to tell you that The Red Book Ritual is not a good horror anthology movie, nor is it fun. In fact, this movie is almost certainly a waste of time, money, and resources, that will severely test the patience of any horror fan.
Seemingly produced on a shoe-string budget, this is a low-brow affair which is likely to bore anyone who watches it. As far as I’m concerned, medals should be handed out to those who make it through to the end, or at the very least audiences should be given a certificate of completion, along with a hearty pat on the back.
To say The Red Book Ritual is bad is not being fair. The correct word to use here is ‘rubbish’.
As noted above, the picture contains five individual stories, all focusing on very different subject matter. The only things these stories share in common is they are all complete bobbins, and not interesting in the slightest.
The worst of the stories is the second tale, which makes little-to-no sense at all, and ends rather abruptly. In contrast, the best of the bunch is story number four, which does demonstrate some potential, but even then, this story is nothing particularly original.
As for the rest, they are all bland offerings. Stories one, three, and five are instantly forgettable, and make little impression.
Actually, scratch that: Story three does make a mild impression, but for the wrong reason. And the reason is embarrassing and laughable.
This particular segment (‘Nose, Nose, Nose, Eyes!’) was filmed in Korean, then dubbed into English using easily some of the worst dubbing since the 1970s. Not only do the voices not match the characters, they don’t match the tone of the story either, and this results in a horror tale which is pretty farcical.
Outside of all this, the movie uses a séance-style game as a framing device to tell all these stories, and this whole set-up makes no sense either. The acting here is bad, ranging from amateur to awful; the dialogue is risible and clichéd; and the scares are simply not scary.
Everything about this movie is cheap, redundant, and tired. It feels as if the whole thing has been constructed with no real vision, and is held together with a bit of sticky tape and a prayer.
This is the sort of film that, back in the day, would have got a barebones DVD release, before spending an eternity gathering dust on the shelves of Poundland. Some poor sod would then inevitably buy a copy, and instantly regret wasting a quid on something this poor.
In short: This film is not worth your time. I’ve seen scarier episodes of Emu’s All Live Pink Windmill Show (remember Grotbags, kids?).