Detective Lucas Boyd (Cole Hauser) is about to get a crash course in certain African rituals in The Ritual Killer. Boyd works for the City of Clinton Police Department in Mississippi when a disturbing pattern of killings emerges. Two children were found with body parts dismembered and elements of rituals present. Boyd finds African writing on the wall and goes to the local university to receive help from Dr. Mackles (Morgan Freeman). Mackles is a leading scholar in African culture and Boyd tries to convince him to assist in their investigation.
Eventually Boyd gives in and begins providing his expertise in African rituals to try and profile the killer. Meckles clues Boyd in that they are looking for what Boyd would know as a witch doctor. This witch doctor is performing rituals for clients paying for body parts that they eventually eat or drink. Depending on the body part, they obtain certain things – knowledge, power, luck, etc. Eventually the case leads to Randoku (Vernon Davis) as the main suspect, who doesn’t do much to hide his identity. Boyd must now put aside his own personal traumas to try and stop Randoku from preying on the town’s children.
The Ritual Killer is directed by George Gallo. Luca Giliberto wrote the screenplay based off of the story by Bob Bowersox and Francesco Cinquemani. Gallo has worked with Freeman before in Vanquish and The Comeback Trail – projects he both wrote and directed. Hauser and Freeman have also been in numerous projects together dating as far back as 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen. With so many writers and history among the talent one would expect a more polished product.
The film plods along with no one seemingly interested in being there. There is a distinct lack of energy. From the script to the performances, it comes across as everyone just going through the motions. THERE IS A KILLER DISMEMBERING CHILDREN. “Meh.” There is no shortage of outlandish ideals and head-scratching moments until the final credits roll. The film is compact, only 90 or so minutes, and features plenty of death, but still seems to drag on. With nothing unique, a mediocre at best script, and lackluster performances – The Ritual Killer is not worth a watch.
The Ritual Killer is available in theaters and VOD now.