A group of kidnappers abduct the daughter of a wealthy socialite and hide out in an abandoned school in the middle of the woods. But feelings of guilt soon overtake the kidnappers, dividing the group and putting their entire plan in jeopardy. The evening further spirals out of control when their poorly chosen hideout becomes a hunting ground for a mysterious creature that requires springtime ritualistic sacrifices.
Spoilers follow ...
- Rites of Spring review by NP
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You rated this film: 3
In the unnamed rural state in which this film is set, people have been going missing fairly regularly, for 24 years. Such a desperate situation seems to have become accepted, because there seems little effort, or counter-measures, put in place to stop this from continuing. Indeed, toward the end, when a very distressed battered young lady pounds on the door of a remote garage and begs for help, the shop assistant ignores her. So it is safe to say the town does not overly keen on helping itself.
As for the victims, the usual parade of energetically screaming, manicured pretty young folk are chained up in a farm shed, this time by an old man determined to sacrifice his victims to a monster in the cellar.
‘Everything is going to be okay, nothing is going to happen to you,’ the daughter or a millionaire is told, just as she is gagged and left in a ramshackle abandoned building. This is story strand number two. A wronged colleague decides to rob his rich employee, and with a small group, sets about kidnapping his daughter for a ransom.
The resurrection of the creature ‘Wormface’ raises the game considerably, breathing life into what is a fairly routine, if earnest, thriller. The placing of this unspecific creature into the unfolding events adds a new urgency and makes the betrayals and counter betrayals between the characters more entertaining. Also, Wormface does the things that ‘creatures’ do – walks in front of the camera, appears where none of the characters can see him, and always happens to be there and only too pleased to open up a few veins. There’s an element of ‘Jeepers Creepers’ about the scenario, but this tells its own story. As a whole, ‘Rites of Spring’ features a number of elements we’ve all seen before (including the occasional lapse of logic by the characters), but is a satisfying meeting of crime thriller and monster-on-the-loose mayhem.