Friday, December 6, 2013

Ending Explained: Modus Anomali (aka Ritual) (2012)

Ending Explained: Modus Anomali (aka Ritual) (2012) [Spoilers]
Review: HERE!

I thought I'd try something new today. I see a lot of online traffic of people searching for plot and ending explanations of certain films, so I thought it would be helpful to give my interpretation on these particular films. So, I'm introducing a new segment called "Ending Explained". Hope you enjoy it and please feel free to leave feedback. And, of course, beware of the spoilers ahead.

Modus Anomali (or Ritual) follows a man named John with amnesia as he tries to piece together the events prior to his unconscious burial. Soon afterward, he realizes he has a family: his pregnant wife has been murdered and his two children are missing. On top that, John is being hunted by an unknown person wielding weapons such as a crossbow and machete. Well, everything in the first two acts is a delusion -- a result of an amnesia and paranoia causing drug.

As explained during the dreadfully slow and unnecessarily confusing final act, John basically visits cabins in the woods with vacationing families. He then knocks the father unconscious, as well as the mother and any children. When the family is unconscious, he murders the father and mother. John buries the father in the woods after engraving it with a message - a message that will later restart this cycle. He leaves the mother's corpse in the cabin. And, finally, John leaves a note informing the children that he has kidnapped their father and the key is inside John, so they'll have to kill him. Finally, John drugs himself with the amnesia-and-paranoia inducing drug and buries himself. When he awakens, he thinks the slaughtered family is his and the cycle begins.

So, the first dead body John finds in the woods is the actual father of the girl and boy. He didn't kill his own daughter and son in the woods, they were trying to kill him to save their already dead father; therefore, there isn't a maniac in the woods, it's the children. I believe most of the footage he sees is in first-person, except for a shot or two, but those don't have any people in sight. John's intentions are questionable, although one can assume he's searching for the ultimate thrill.

So, there you have it, Modus Anomali is one great self-induced delusion of John. His family is happily at home, while John pretends to save some random family he actually slaughtered. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

*Note: This is my interpretation of the plot, I may have missed the point completely and I don't claim to know it all. This is simply how I absorbed the content and my explanation.


  1. Who set the box into fire when john was hiding into it? If it was the children then why they didn't kill him when he came out of the box? Why the daughter said the word "dad" when John killed her by mistake using the trap? Why the son was bare chested when John kills him mistakenly with the sword?

    1. The box was set on fire by the kids. They didn't want to burn him alive, just scare him out. (Remember, John claims to have the key inside him) The daughter might've said "Dad" as her final words realizing she failed to save him. And, I'm not sure I remember why the son was bare chested. Maybe he was going into Rambo-mode or hunter-mode, or maybe it was just hot.

      And, remember, a lot of what John sees and hears may be a delusion. The daughter might've never said "Dad", but the drug made him hear that. I hope this helps a bit, and thanks for reading, I really appreciate it.

    2. Thanks Jonathan for explaining my doubts. BTW "Maybe he was going into Rambo-mode" was hilarious LOL.

  2. The only thing I don't get is who shot John with the crossbow? I thought it might be a delusion but he clearly has the wound.

    1. as in, he has the wound even after he takes the "truth" drug and goes back to, er, normal

    2. The son/boy was the crossbow, it was one of the weapons he leaves for the family members to come after him. We see at the end that he has gone to another cabin, picked a new family, and laid out newer, more deadly weapons for the kids to try and kill him with,

  3. oh, this explanation helps... before read this I give this movie 1/10. but now 5/10...
    there things that keep bugging me:
    1) the availability of phone signal in the middle of nowhere -well, I don't know in another country, but you know, this story takes place in Indonesia, and as Indonesian I know there is no signal in the middle of the woods.
    2) how he had the photo of the family WITH him inside it?
    3) how did easily find the cabins if he didn't has any memory of it? after he woke up from the ground, he just walking aimlessly. coincidence? well, that's neat.
    4) why did some family rent the cabin -the exact same cabin? or if I saw it wrong, why did there are a lot of cabins there?
    5) if John did the same thing over and over again, why didn't his family search for him -even he sometimes call them?
    6) how did the family rent the cabins?
    7) Does such drugs that can erase and rewrite memories exist?

    1. hey, i just want to answer question 3 and 5.

      3.let's pretend that the forest is small. but if the forest is so big like an island, nobody even watch the entire movie if joko anwar shows the scene when John is searching for the cabin. it's too long

      5. they did. it shows on the car scene.



    2. I think most of your issues with this movie are trivial.
      I dismissed most of these as just your regular movie trope nonsense.

      As far as the photo, my guess was that he had already planned all of this out. He had photoshopped his picture into the other people.
      It made you wonder the whole time why these kids were trying to kill their "dad", when you find out that he was the antagonist the whole time.
      When the second family arrives, you see him improvise and just videotape himself into the families life. He didnt have the luxury of photoshop.
      This is also why we see him talk to his real family, to say he will be late.

      As far as the drugs and cell service and other things, it's just a movie.

  4. John has a conversation with his "wife and kid" on a cell phone just before he kills the wife and husband next door. After he kills them he calls them again and has another conversation with them? Is he dreaming all these conversations???

    1. I have this movie iny personal collection,and seen it a number of times but it's been awhile.

      I don't think he is dreaming this. If you look at most serial killers in the US, they generally are regular people with normal families.
      I think it was just trying to show us that here is this guy that has gone to extreme and elaborate measures to terrorize families, but he himself has a normal life.

      Personally I thought the movie was brilliant. It takes multiple, multiple viewings. I love movies like this one.

  5. Assuming his phone conversations were real, he will bury himself and "hibernate" for some extended period of time (avoiding what ever bugs and junk will slide into his, ears and eyes) then call again and say "oh sorry babe, the conference ran over a bit... like several months?"

    1. I just rewatched parts of it, to refresh my memory. He was actually in his way home, but he saw another family there, and decided WTH, why not do another one.
      This is why he had to improvise on the camcorder and delete the photos of the father and record himself pretending to be the father.

  6. No, remember he was only there for a short time. Long enough for drug to take effect.
    The whole movie takes place over a couple of days. Ate the end,after he gives himself the injection to wipe his memory, only a short time passes, like an hour or so.
    He only had 4 shots, which it takes 2 per family, one to forget, and one to remember.
    He is probably only away from home for maybe a week at the most, probably could be done in 4 days, not including travel time there.

  7. If you all remember, he took the black box and went back to the beginning, he had a flashback. He didn't start that process over. And his wife and children (as in the picture)were killed during the movie. I think they went to search for him and fell victim. I think the movie was either poorly explained or structured. It's a Balinese audience that was being reached.


    1. UM...... NO!?!?!

      Did you not even read this article in which you are replying under??

      The main character is NOT the protagonist, but the antagonist.....

      There is NO flashbacks, the entire movie is told in linear format.
      The cycle begins to restart when he reads the message on the dead
      body of the children's father. Once he remembers who he is, a serial
      killer with a VERY interesting MO, thus the title.
      The killer, after killing the children, he called his REAL wife, and tells
      her that he is on his way home. The he sees a new family show up, and he
      is like"to hell with it, let me do another family while I'm here(Like Fishing
      or hunting I suppose). He then tells his REAL wife on the phone that he might be one more day or so. At the end we get to see him in action, and what he had to
      have done to the original family we saw in the beginning of the movie.
      So he works his way into the cabin, being friendly at first, and then goes to
      work on them. He takes the drug so he will forget who he is temp, and set it up for himself to think that he is indeed the kids real father. He sets out even more weapons this time, even a pistol. This is why the kids are trying to kill him the
      entire time, and also why he is seeing crazy men with suits on(due to the drugs).

      The movie has a very cool twist that I don't think I have ever seen before like it.

  8. I thought I was a lil crazy trying to figure this out but after reading this not so much! I thought this was a great movie, different than all the same ole same that has been out.

  9. Hi... are you Indonesian? I've read your review and thank you, it helps a lot! I can understand the movie now. Anyway, have you ever watch Pintu Terlarang/The Forbidden Door? It is directed by Joko Anwar also.