Before the film came out, there was a lot of word of mouth about this book. I had it on that long list of “things I should maybe read some day”, but as Nevill was selling copies at last year’s Bristol HorrorCon, I decided to grab one.
The Ritual is a story of two halves: In the first half, four men who were best friends in college have a reunion camping trip in the far north of Sweden, nearly 20 years on. (They think they’re middle aged at 35. Bless). In Best Horror Story Style, two of them are far too unfit to undertake such a trip and aren’t going to make it to the night’s campsite, so the expedition’s leader consults the map and decides to take a shortcut. As soon as the group enter the primeval forest, things get unpleasant.
In the second half, “help” may be at hand. But this is a horror story, so it’s complicated. And creepy.
I loved the first 3/4 of this book. It’s scary but not too gross. There’s an interesting mythos that is barely touched upon. Unfortunately I found that the second half of the book went on for too long and lost momentum.
I do still recommend it and I expect I’ll watch the film on Netflix this weekend.