Rites of Spring – USA, 2011 – reviews

 

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‘Fear has a season’

Rites of Spring is a 2011 American horror film written and directed by Padraig Reynolds (Dark Light; Open 24 Hours;The Devil’s Dolls); he wanted to combine a kidnapping film with a horror film. His main influences were Venom (1981) and The Black Windmill.

The movie stars A. J. Bowen, Anessa Ramsey, Sonny Marinelli, Katherine Randolph, James Bartz, Shanna Forrestall, Hannah Bryan, Skylar Burke, Marco St. John.

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Plot:

Rachel Adams and her friend Alyssa Miller are kidnapped by a man known only as the Stranger. The Stranger takes them to his barn, takes a blood sample from both women and gives it to a strange creature kept in a locked hole. The Stranger strips Alyssa naked, puts a goat mask over her head, and takes her away, presumably as part of a pagan death ritual…

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Meanwhile, a fractured gang of kidnappers is hiding out in a nearby abandoned school whilst dissent grows amongst their ranks. The gang’s internal strife turns out to be the least of their worries…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“… there is much that can be applauded about a first-time feature filmmaker taking some major risks with his debut genre-bending experiment by trying to combine elements of the horror and thriller genres and all with limited resources. It’s just unfortunate that the build-up in the film goes absolutely nowhere by the time the credits begin rolling…” Dread Central

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“The two narratives can’t possibly intersect, but they do, in a glorious celebration of coincidence. Helmer-writer Padraig Reynolds creates a dizzying pastiche of genre conventions, and he has a terrific actress in Anessa Ramsey, who’s that rare thing in horror, a thoroughly convincing victim.” John Anderson, Variety

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“There are double-crosses and surprise connections, and a strong sense of a larger world outside of the one inhabited by Wormface and its disciples. But Rites of Spring’s execution is rarely as inventive as its plotting. The acting is shaky, the scare scenes are fairly stock, and it takes way too long for Reynolds to put all his pieces in play…” Noel Murray, A.V. Club

Rites of Spring DVD

Buy DVD: Amazon.com

“The cinematographer, Carl Herse, knows his way around genre staples like claustrophobic cornfields, animal carcasses, porcelain-doll heads, voyeur perspectives, decrepit interiors and, of course, the time-honored serial-killer wall, with thumbtacked clippings and photographs about old murders. Nevertheless, Rites of Spring yields a slender bounty.” Andy Webster, The New York Times

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“Other details are vague, such as the origin of the creature and why the blood of women keeps it satisfied. Feeding it has something to do with the crops in the area, but that isn’t really explained well either. It feels like ideas were not fully fleshed out before filming commenced. Whatever the reasons for the lack of clarity, a creature feature with no creature sure makes for a frustrating viewing experience.” Shock Till You Drop

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Cast and characters:

  • A. J. Bowen … Ben Geringer
  • Anessa Ramsey … Rachel Adams
  • Sonny Marinelli … Paul Nolan
  • Katherine Randolph … Amy
  • James Bartz … Ryan Hayden
  • Shanna Forrestall … Gillian Hayden
  • Andrew Breland … Tommy Geringer
  • Hannah Bryan … Alyssa Miller
  • Sarah Pachelli … Jessica
  • Skylar Burke … Kelly Hayden
  • Marco St. John … the Stranger
  • Jeff Nations … Karmanor/Worm Face