US 2011, 81m, Red Planet/White Rock Lake/Vigilante
Blu-Ray/DVD from 101 Films (UK), Cert 18
A group of kidnappers prepare to capture the daughter of a wealthy banker. Meanwhile, elsewhere two ladies are abducted by a serial killer with an unusual motive - ritual sacrifice to appease an evil force. What seem like very disparate events will shortly become intertwined, and it's all linked to the date of March 21st...
First things first. Rites Of Spring doesn't set out to be a rollercoaster ride from the start. It takes its time to get going, perhaps because the two disparate tales unfolding initially make uncomfortable bedfellows.
Things do get more interesting as the kidnap proper takes place, and we discover more about the serial killer's motives - he is evidently carrying out these acts with a greater good in mind, namely keeping an inhuman creature at bay. It's an interesting angle, sadly one which doesn't get a deeper examination, and I can't help wondering if the potential havoc to be wreaked by the creature could be any worse than this feller bumping off young ladies on a regular basis...
Once things kick off in the last half-hour, the two story strands meeting each other head on, the pace picks up considerably, and although the ending is somewhat unsatisfactory, the final ride there is a generally enjoyable, if confusing one.
So, very much a film of two halves. Flawed, certainly, but the attempt to weave a kidnap movie narrative with horror elements, throwing in a Lovecraftian creature in a barn cellar is an intriguing one. If only as an occasionally engaging curio, Rites Of Spring is worth a look. File under "Curate's Egg".
Original Theatrical Trailer: