Rites of Spring is a slasher movie cloaked in the guise of a crime film that would have been more enjoyable if it dropped the horror aspect.
The movie, directed by Padraig Reynolds – who has done nothing of note – top bills A. J. Bowen, who delivers a fantastic performance.
The first half of the 80-minute run time follows two different stories, each linked thematically with a kidnapping. The first is the kidnapping of two women by an unnamed assailant who ties them up, collects their blood in a bowl, and preforms a strange ritual.
The second follows a group of thugs who kidnap a child from a millionaire and, thanks to the inclusion of a criminal with incredibly violent tendencies, murders his wife.
As the film progresses both of these stories become linked when the ritual brings forth a creature – whose terrible costume could be recreated with ten dollars at Value Village – and one of the kidnapped women escape, only to run into the criminals.
There is almost nothing of note to the film. The effects are terribly cheap looking; the cinematography is bland – it understands the proper use of Dutch angles and the rule of thirds but offers nothing unique or challenging. The characters, with the exception of Ben (A. J. Bowen), are incredibly cliché and don’t grow; the main female, who preforms the “final girl” trope as coined by Carol J. Clover in her book “Men, Women, And Chainsaws,” never completes a character arc and instead spends the length of the film screaming and hiding.
- J. Bowen brings the only charm to the film, playing a character with a heart who tries his best to stay moral.
Overall, Rites of Spring is a disappointing mess of a film whose first half sets you up for a fun time but then serves right into a brick wall of disappointment.