I had the opportunity to watch this little shocker on DVD the other day, the X-rated version of course - which is crap, but uncut at least. I wish there was remastered version out, because this one really, really deserves something special.
For me, the strongest selling point with the movie was the characters - which might sound pretentious, but it was very well written - and to be, more or less, a rip off on Deliverance, it was a masterpiece. To be honest, I think it's better than Deliverance.
I love the Burt Reynolds-character in John Boormans classic, but Rituals becames a stronger and more engaging movie without a arrow-expert hero. Here we have five doctors, all of them with personal problems, that goes out on a hike... and four of them never comes back. One of them is gay, but that subject is treated so natural that it's almost absurd. Just one in the gang, nothing more. Great and unexcepted. But it's just five guys. No heros. Just people trying to survive.
The idea of the killer stealing their boots is one of the best I've seen in a movie like this. Because without boots, without shoes, in the wilderness, there's gonna be hell and nothing more. It makes every step painful and it makes these doctors suffers even more. There's extremely little gore and blood in this flick, which I of course miss... but when it comes, the few seconds here and there, it becomes very strong. We have a decapited head on a pole. A axe in the chest. A nasty wound in the leg. A blown of hand. But it's very effective.
One of the best canuxploitation-movies out there. Well, it's more than exploitation. It's truly a classy, intelligent horror movie.