What’s more fitting to a Norse Viking nightmare than a nice red cab called The Stag. Smooth and fairly light, this wine contains notes of a tobacco, vanilla, and dark berries. The tannins hit the tongue right away, but it didn’t take away from the dark fruit and light sweetness that follow. I would say that this wine is best to drink when paired with food… or a horror movie.
The nice thing about this wine is how simple it is. This pairs nicely with the simplicity of the film The Ritual.
Netflix’s original movie The Ritual was a refreshing take on monster movies. The simplicity of the film relies entirely on tone to create a horror background that keeps the audience on their toes. The cast is outstanding and includes Robert James-Collier, one of my favorite actors from Downton Abbey known as Thomas Barrow.
Four friends hike a trail in the Swedish countryside as a way to say goodbye to a close friend who was killed in a liquor store robbery. This death haunts our lead character, Luke, who witnessed his friends murder and failed to defend his friend against the robbers. On their way back to the beginning of the trail, the group decides to take a shortcut and cut through the woods. What they find is signs of witchcraft, an unnatural death of an animal, and a random house with a creepy totem that seems to cause the beginning of a string of nightmares for these four friends. They soon find themselves being hunted by something sinister within this lost forest. “If a shortcut is a shortcut, then it would be called a path.”
This film is nothing but tone and that’s what makes it perfect. As our characters deal with their personal problems of blaming our lead for the death of their fifth friend, the set up and execution of the fear created by the creature hunting them is so simple and yet so intense that the viewer is left on the edge of their seat until the very end. By not showing the creature, except small slivers here and there, the viewer is left to imagine the horror of what is chasing these four friends. This left me wanting more regardless of how little happens during a simple hike through the forest.
Normally it is my opinion that the creature should not be entirely revealed, even at the end, but The Ritual is an exception. They make you wait until the last 15 minutes of the film and they don’t disappoint. Throughout the film, you’re never quite sure what exactly the threat is as we hear the creature prowling around our characters, revealing itself only as a large shape that moves hidden among the trees.
For the final reveal, without giving too much away, the filmmakers designed their own version of an ancient Norse giant. The word for this in Norse mythology is a Jötunn which are described as nature spirits with superhuman strength that can terrorize the human race. Of course, this film became such a cult classic with its creature design that searching Jötunn now gives you images of the creature from this film. So be careful if you want to avoid spoilers. Before I saw this film, the creature was described as horrifying, but not grotesque. I would agree with that description. Even after the creature is revealed, it still strikes a cord when seen just standing there staring at you. It is definitely the stuff of nightmares.
Paired With Food
Not surprisingly, Stag is great with game and other meats such as veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, roast chicken, ribs, etc. It’s even light enough to serve with some fish. It is a decent all around wine, but best to drink with food. I wouldn’t call it a casual drinking wine.
Even if you skip the wine, I’d give The Ritual a chance and look it up.