The Ritual Killer Review – Engrossing, Riveting, A Nail Biter

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The Ritual Killer, from Redbox Entertainment, brings to the screen a nail-biting suspense thriller as detectives on two continents, each troubled, are hunting an elusive murder-for-hire crime syndicate targeting children who are selected for their purity.


The film begins in the streets of Rome, as Detective Claussen, played by Luke Stratte-McClure, is frantically searching through the streets and back alleys of Rome. He enters an empty building, ready for a showdown, hoping to rescue a teenage girl who has been abducted. Instead, he finds her murdered, in a ritualistic style killing, surrounded by an arrangement of candles and other pagan ceremonial sacraments.

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Immediately we see an African man running, as the detectives close in. He somehow escapes into the darkness. The next day the same man, Randoku, played by Vernon Davis, meets Shelby Farmer, played by Brain Kurlander, where the two discuss terms, which is somewhat ambiguous, for an upcoming deal.

The film then moves to the United States where we meet Detective Boyd, played by Cole Hauser, and his partner, Terry, played by Talia Asseraf, who are hunting down a pedophile. We also meet African studies professor, Dr. Mackles, played by Morgan Freeman, who is lecturing his class on traditions and cultures.

Suddenly a missing girl is found in the bay, she is mutilated. We find out from the medical examiner, played by Bill Luckett, that the killer removed her genitals, reproductive organs and eyes. It is grisly. Within a day a similar scene is discovered as a young boy, played by Cody Lemmon, is discovered. This time when the scene is processed, the killer has left a similar circle of pagan ceremonial items.

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Detective Boyd, who needs to speak with an expert in African rituals, reaches out to Dr. Mackles, who explain whoever the killer is he is murdering according to a brutal tribal ritual call Muti. We begin to understand the traditions of muti, which is commonly known among the world's most influential leaders, as a tool to provide an extra edge. By drinking the blood of the victim or consuming other body parts insight is increased, wisdom is heightened and for those in elite power position, the ability to stay on top demands more tools than are at times available.

Shelby Farmer, who we met in Rome, decides he needs this extra edge which is the motivation behind Randuko visit to the states. Soon we understand, Farmer has specialized needs which requires a specific victim. We understand Randuko is ruthless, an expert killer, whose only restraint are aligned with his tribal laws.

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Throughout the film, we see Detective Boyd struggling with nightmares as he is unable to process the death of his daughter, arguments with his wife, and finally we understand the sequence of events and the burden he carries. As the line between sanity and madness thins as Boyd goes deeper into the killer's world. The kidnapping of a third child sets up the shocking ending.

The Ritual Killer is an edgy, attention-grabbing, and fast-moving suspense thriller that holds on until the very last scenes of the film. It is gripping, riveting, and doesn't let go even after the film has ended. The shocking finale resonates. The ensemble cast is brilliant, each embody the essence of their characters with seamless precision.

The Ritual Killer opens March 10, 2023. See it.

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Country: U.S.

Runtime: 91 minutes.

Language: English.

Director: George Gallo.

Producer: Chris Authur, Monika Bacardi, Andrea Iervolino, Joe Lemmon, Danielle Maloni, Bret Saxon, Buddy Wyrick.

Writer: Bob Bowersox, Francesco Cinquemani, Luca Giliberto, Jennifer Lemmon, Joe Lemmon.

Cast: Cole Hauser, Morgan Freeman, Murielle Hilaire, Vernon Davis, Brain Kurlander, Peter Stormare, Luke Stratte-McClure, Bill Lucket, Destiny Loren, Cody Lemmon, Talia Asseraf, Mayumi Roller.

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