Thursday, December 5, 2013

Film Review: Modus Anomali (or Ritual) (2012)

Modus Anomali (or Ritual) (Review)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The final act loses all momentum as it moves at a dreadfully slow pace and may end up confusing the audience."

A man wakes up buried in the woods without memory. Eventually, he finds he was on vacation with his family. His pregnant wife has been killed and his two children are missing... while a maniac lurks in the woods.

Modus Anomali, or Ritual, continues to follow the amnesiac protagonist as he searches for clues of who he is and what occurred. He also searches for his children who have gone missing. Meanwhile, the protagonist finds himself the prey of a maniac. And so, he becomes the hunted and eventually tries to become the hunter. The third act reveals an interesting twist, and explains the plot. However, this final act moves at a snail's pace while unnecessarily complicating what should've been a simple explanation.

Modus Anomali, or Ritual, is a slow-burning horror/thriller blend. There are a few great scenes with plenty of suspense and a few jump scares, as well. The ominous killer has a great presence, as well; I thoroughly enjoyed his subtle and occasionally jolting appearances. It can be a bit uneventful during the first two acts, though. The final act loses all momentum as it moves at a dreadfully slow pace and may end up confusing the audience. (Were you confused? Check out my Ending Explained: Modus Anomali [Spoilers] post for my interpretation.)

I should also note, despite being Indonesian, this film is shot in English. The lead actor delivers a solid performance with a wide range of emotion. The child actors were a bit underwhelming, though. The music was great -- it was eerie and ominous, and helped create a tense atmosphere. Joko Anwar's direction is solid in creating suspense. However, Anwar's writing is often uneventful and sloppy particularly during the final act.

Overall, for everything Modus Anomali (aka Ritual) does right, it does something wrong. It is successful at building suspense and some genuine terror, but it fails at developing a plot and characters, and it especially fails at storytelling. It's an okay film, but not my cup of tea. (and I usually love slow-burners.)

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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