There Will Be Spoilers
Ok so I watched The Rites Of Spring on Netflix and oh boy. Here is the short summery listed on Netflix for this movie: After abducting a young girl for ransom, a band of kidnappers find the tables are turned as their hideout winds up being a house of horrors. This makes this movie sound like a group of people kidnap a girl and, oh no, she turns the tables on her kidnappers and takes them out one by one. That movie sounds great.
Now here is the movie I watched.
Ben Geringer, played by AJ Bowen, and Rachel Adams, played by Annessa Ramsey, are a couple struggling with their debt load after the loss of Ben’s job. With the help of Paul Nolan, played by Sunny Marinelli, and Ben’s brother Tommy, played by Andrew Breland, they kidnap the daughter and nanny of Ryan and Gillian Hayden, played by James Bartz and Shanna Forrestall. Without Ben and Rachel’s knowledge Paul kills Gillian, the wife, just to prove how serious he is about getting his ransom money. Tommy picks up the ransom but gets intercepted by Ryan who forces Tommy to take him back to the gangs hideout, an abandoned school, where there is the obligatory final showdown between all parties involved.
That’s the first pretty standard kidnapping storyline. Now for the second.
Amy, played by Katherine Randolph, is drinking in a bar and lamenting to her friend Jessica, played by Sarah Pachelli, about the fact that she screwed up at work and someone else got fired for it. Jessica tells Amy that no good will come from her going to her boss and admitting her mistake. What’s done is done and she should be lucky that she has her job. The two women are then kidnapped after they leave the bar.
They come to trussed up in a barn were an old man slices, not just cuts but slices, their arm in order to test if their blood is pure. This test is performed by tossing their blood on some dirty hay. Good news everyone, their blood test came back positive. Their blood is clean so now its time for the old man to put a paper mache cow hear on Jessica, strip her of her clothes, and washes the blood and dirt off her; like one does. He then takes her out of the room. He has just prepared his first sacrifice to ensure that the crops will be bountiful.
Next up, it’s Amy’s turn but she escapes only to find Jessica’s decapitated body. The old man finds her but she knocks some shelves on top of the him trapping him at which point he tells her not to let the creature escape. Just then the creature, looking like a homeless mummy (see artist rendering below), escapes. There is literally nothing preventing this creatures escape except a hatch in the floor which is open with relative ease. Then it chases Amy through a corn field ultimately leading to an abandoned school.
Do you guys see it? Do you get it? It’s the same abandoned school!! And not only that but Ben is the guy that got fired for Amy’s mistake. AND Ryan Gillian is there boss. I know your minds are blown right now. Anyway the two stories collide. People die. The movie ends very reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Now I know that that previous paragraph sounds snarky (which it is) but truth be told I really like the story; on paper that is. I like horror movies the attempt to take a recognizable trope and tries to make is reconcile with the supernatural/otherworldly. A good example of this type of marriage is the movie Devil which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also really liked the story line of the old man sacrificing women to ensure a good crop growth which I thought was handled really well; its just easy to mock when the overall movie misses the mark.
The reason for the sarcasm is two fold. First off the acting is just plain flat. There are two scenes where characters are trussed up in the old mans barn being prepared for sacrifice and in both cases the conscious, non-being-prepared-for-sacrifice character politely asked if the old man would be terrible put off if he stopped what he was doing. This plays into the second issue, which is, when the homeless mummy shows up people are about as scared as they are of a juice cleanse. They all seem to readily accept that its a monster and try to run away as quickly as possible.
This movie was obviously someones passion and I do believe that shows however I believe that in a better directors hands this movie would have played a lot. For example we see a lot of the homeless-mummy-demon character and the costume is not that great. I really wish the demon was kept more mysterious and hidden thus making it more threatening. Also, I can not stress this enough, better acting directions. There are so many flat line reading that really took me out of the movie.
I really hope, in ten years time, someone finds this movie and remakes it. I think that the movie has really great bones it just needs to be in more experienced hands. It’s worth checking out if you are looking for something on Netflix.