Sunday, August 24, 2014

Film Review: Rites of Spring (2011)

Rites of Spring (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...partly spoiled by bad acting."

Two young women are abducted after a night at the bar, while a group of criminals execute their own unrelated kidnapping...

Rites of Spring starts by following these two young woman, particularly Rachel (Anessa Ramsey), who are abducted for a ritual -- a ritual meant to satisfy a strange, locked away creature. Meanwhile, a group of criminals, particularly Ben (A. J. Bowen), kidnap the daughter of a rich businessman. Eventually, the two unrelated kidnappings interlink -- in more ways than one -- and the creature is unleashed. The film leads to a mediocre ending, at the very least -- it's abrupt and leaves some unanswered questions, but it doesn't really have any where else to go, so I don't know how harshly to fault it.

Rites of Spring is a unique spin on the traditional crime/kidnapping film, obviously as it blends creature-feature horror elements into the formula. And I liked it. It's a simple yet creative story. The crime elements offer some tension and twists, and the horror offers some moderate suspense and gore. It doesn't reach nail-biting levels, but it's pretty damn satisfying. There are some dull moments, but the short runtime is forgiving. The creature isn't fully-explained or all-that fleshed out, and it could've used more back-story, but at least it looked decent and ominous.

The acting is the deepest pitfall for the film, though. A. J. Bowen is okay, but he definitely underperforms. Anessa Ramsey, on the other hand, ridiculously overacts. Her shouting, screaming, and grunting was more humorous than believable -- and that all she does after the first 5 minutes. Ramsey was terrible. (Should've tried for Sara Paxton -- they look similar and Paxton can act much better.) The film is shot well, though. I liked the camerawork, too. The music was great, really blended well with the film. The special effects and makeup were decent; there is some blatant use of computer blood, though, which looks bad. Writer and director Padraig Reynolds delivers a creative story with some decent suspense and thrills; however, there is some inconsistent pacing and he failed at controlling Anessa Ramsey's overacting.

Overall, Rites of Spring is a simple and decent film. It's story is easy to jump into and it's entertaining, and there is some solid suspense and tension. The short runtime makes this a solid time-killer, too. There are a few moments where the film loses momentum, though, and the film is partly spoiled by bad acting.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, and a 5-10 second shot of full nudity.

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