October is only a couple of months away now, so you know what that means! Horror season is upon us. And for me, it has officially begun with Padraig Reynolds’ Rites Of Spring, a film about a group of kidnappers who choose the shittiest hideout, which just so happens to be in the middle of the hunting grounds for a weird ass creature called “Wormface” who only comes out on the first day of Spring, every year. And like any typical low budget horror flick, this thing is full of running and panting, gore, and terrible acting. But with that, there is always a line. Is it “good-bad”, or “bad-bad”?
Rites Of Spring bordered on “bad-bad” more often than not. There were a couple of genuinely enjoyably bad parts, but most of the time I found myself being surprised at just how boring this film was. It wasn’t boring because of a lack of action, that was definitely not the case. A horror film can still be enjoyable without constant action and scares, a great example being The Strangers. While that film worked, because it was constantly building mood with suspension, Rites Of Spring just never built tension. Instead it just spent lots of time building on the kidnapping plot that ultimately felt useless, and incredibly boring.
Basically the main guy in the film, Ben (A. J. Bowen) get’s fired from his job, so they decide to kidnap his boss’ daughter to get back at him, take her out to an abandoned school in the middle of nowhere, and then starts having second feelings about doing it in the first place. All the while, in a completely separate plot, you’ve got an old man (Marco St. John) who has kidnapped two girls from a bar as sacrifice for Mr. Wormface who is living under a barn feasting on blood and corpses. Two completely different films, right? That is, until they are linked together with a ridiculously lazy plot twist.
I think, of all the missteps with this film, though, was the ending. And just how anti-climactic it was. First of all, you BARELY ever get to see Wormface, and a much more significant amount of time is spent on the kidnapping plot, but when you DO finally get to start seeing Wormface chasing people with a giant axe, it’s really short lived. When the movie ended I literally said out loud “wait, that’s it?”. I mean, it’s kind of expected that no matter how shitty, and no matter how low of a budget you’ve got, when it comes to Horror, you need to go out with a BANG. Rites Of Spring, instead went out with a whimper.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve got nothing else better to do, this might still be an interesting Video On Demand rental for you and your friends on a boring night. Hell, you could even devise a drinking game where you have to take a shot every time this one character says “I’m so sorry”. It’s just a bummer that this couldn’t have been a better bad horror film. Sure there are a few great ridiculous kills from Wormface, and some awesomely terrible dialogue deliveries. Hell, even Wormface looks cool as hell for the, like, 10 minutes he’s in this thing. In terms of really low budget horror, though, Rites Of Spring just didn’t hit the mark for me.
Rites Of Spring is available on Video On Demand starting today.
I give Rites Of Spring 2 out of 5 paper mâché goat heads:
By Richard Pepper