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David Brückner’s The Ritual is a funny and sarcastic offering to the horror genre — reminiscent of classics like Children of the Corn

Rafe Spall stars in this non-horror horror set in a Swedish forest exec produced by Andy Serkis. After a shocking opening scene which sees the horrific murder of one of their gang. A group of lads staring 40 in the face decide to honour his memory by going on a Swedish hiking mini break. Bad […]

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Rafe Spall stars in this non-horror horror set in a Swedish forest exec produced by Andy Serkis.

After a shocking opening scene which sees the horrific murder of one of their gang.

The Ritual’s shocking opening scene sees one of the group’s members being murdered

A group of lads staring 40 in the face decide to honour his memory by going on a Swedish hiking mini break. Bad choice.

Among the blame, accusation and insinuation being thrown about in that bleak and beautiful landscape is something far more sinister…

Clearly these four fellas are about to start being picked off one by one.

The actually very scary contents of those woods are relatively metaphorical – the whole premise of the film is based around when is it OK to be a coward – our default position.

The group of lads soon realise that they are being picked off one-by-one

What is it to be a 40 year old man in 2017? All of these questions are thrown at Luke Excellently played by a louche and petulant Rafe Spall) and “the lads”.

The very Britishness of the script gives a really funny and sarcastic twinge to proceedings, which at times feels very Children of the Corn doing Blair Witch directed by Guillermo Del Torro. A really enjoyable, surreal scare.

The Ritual

(15) 94mins

★★★★☆

Whilst there is the obvious horror of a murderer, the dreary landscape is something far more insidious
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Lego’s Ninjago is mildly entertaining – but wholly underwhelming

This is the third movie in the Lego series, which seemed to be able to give Pixar a run for it’s money in terms of originality, visuals and that all important kids-adult crossover appeal. Sadly, after the incredible Lego movie and the under-rated Lego Batman, Ninjago feels a bit done-by-numbers. Ninjago is an offshoot Lego […]

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This is the third movie in the Lego series, which seemed to be able to give Pixar a run for it’s money in terms of originality, visuals and that all important kids-adult crossover appeal.

Sadly, after the incredible Lego movie and the under-rated Lego Batman, Ninjago feels a bit done-by-numbers.

Ninjago is the third movie in the Lego series, which seemed to be able to give Pixar a run for its money
Warner Bros

Ninjago is an offshoot Lego brand skirting dangerously close to Power Rangers territory.

All dinosaur vehicles controlled by four teenagers with different personalities.

The film doesn’t really do anything to pretend otherwise.

There are some good twists here – the inclusion of real footage works as well as it did before, as does the use of real life objects as the “ultimate weapons”.

Ninjago
Yet the film is predictable and underwhelming
Warner Bros

There are also nods to our obsession with memes and gifs - but the overall message of searching for the hero inside yourself is as predictable as it gets.

I also can't be quite sure who is crying out for cameos from Ben Shepard and Kate Garraway (no offence guys!) apart from their agents.

Ninjago is an offshoot Lego brand skirting dangerously close to Power Rangers territory
Warner Bros

My kids were mildly entertained but pretty underwhelmed, mainly because they expected something really special.

A lesson in managing expectations here - perhaps the subtext for the sequel?

Lego Ninjago

(U) 101mins

★★★☆☆

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New Brit slasher comedy Double Date starring newcomer Danny Morgan is perfect mix of wit and gore

Written by, and starring talented newcomer Danny Morgan – Double Date is a British slasher comedy about desperate virgin Jim who inadvertently gets himself pulled in a bar by Lulu and Kitty – two mysterious hotties. Without giving too much thought as to why they’d be interested, him and gobby mate Alex fall head over […]

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Written by, and starring talented newcomer Danny Morgan – Double Date is a British slasher comedy about desperate virgin Jim who inadvertently gets himself pulled in a bar by Lulu and Kitty – two mysterious hotties.

Without giving too much thought as to why they’d be interested, him and gobby mate Alex fall head over heels.

Double Date sees desperate virgin Jim pulled by two mysterious hotties

Before you can say “Your place or mine?” They realise they’d have been better off copping off with Rosemary West.

For an independent low-budget production, this really punches well above it’s weight.

The script is sharp and quick, the soundtrack is one Edgar Wright would be proud of and I guarantee you that you’re watching several huge stars in their infancy, the standouts being Michael Socha and Georgia Groome.

It has many set pieces reminiscent of the aforementioned Wright, a heady whiff of Gervais and Merchant and even elements of Richard Curtis turns of phrase.

The film is written by and stars newcomer Danny Morgan
The low-budget independent production punches well above it’s weight

With the Dexter Fletcher cameo half way through you’ve hit Brit flick alchemy!

The perfect mix of wit and gore, go and seek out this film, it’s really good fun – and in a week where Brit-indie flicks have absolutely spanked the blockbuster releases, what more reason do you need?

The film is the perfect mix of gore and wit

Double Date

(15) 89 mins

★★★★☆

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Fighting off a jaguar, eating monkeys and near-drowning… the shocking true story of the trek ordeal behind Daniel Radcliffe’s new film

SWISHING its tail from side to side, the jaguar readied itself to kill. Its eyes were locked on the young backpacker who watched helplessly as it raised its razor-sharp claws to pounce upon him and crush his skull. Once again, Yossi Ghinsberg was staring into the face of death during 20 days lost alone in […]

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SWISHING its tail from side to side, the jaguar readied itself to kill.

Its eyes were locked on the young backpacker who watched helplessly as it raised its razor-sharp claws to pounce upon him and crush his skull.

FILM COMPANY
Daniel Radcliffe battles treacherous waters during a scene for Jungle[/caption]

Daniel plays the part of Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli backpacker who was lost in the Amazon jungle for 20 days
Daniel plays the part of Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli backpacker who was lost in the Amazon jungle for 20 days

Once again, Yossi Ghinsberg was staring into the face of death during 20 days lost alone in the Amazon jungle, a nightmare being told in a new film starring Daniel Radcliffe.

On this occasion he avoided death with a makeshift flame-thrower made from mosquito spray and a lighter.

During the ordeal he also walked so far that flesh tore from his feet, causing such agony that to distract himself from the pain he put hundreds of stinging fire ants on his face.

He ate monkeys to save himself from starvation and at one point believed a ghostly spirit had joined him on his endless trek.

Yossi and Daniel on set
Yossi and Daniel on set

Yossi travelled to Bolivia in 1981 after he completed his military service in Israel
LENS! Productions
Yossi travelled to Bolivia in 1981 after he completed his military service in Israel[/caption]

The Israeli adventurer’s extraordinary story began in October 1981 when he was a 22-year-old fresh from his mandatory three years of military service.

Smitten by the idea of visiting a rainforest, he travelled to La Paz in Bolivia, where a stranger persuaded him to join him on a trek into the South American wilderness.

Austrian Karl Ruprechter claimed to be a geologist and jungle expert, and promised to lead him to a river full of gold and a lost tribe.

Yossi, now 58, recalled: “I think he saw the naivety on my face. I drank up every word he said. I was begging him to take me with him.”

Thrilled, Yossi then convinced two new friends he had met just days before — Swiss explorer Marcus Stamm and American photographer Kevin Gale — to join the expedition.

The four men flew to a starting point in the rainforest north of La Paz then set off into the jungle on foot.

Tensions soon began to emerge.

Marcus developed trench foot and struggled to keep up with the group.

Yossi lost two stone during his ordeal
Yossi lost two stone during his ordeal
The Israeli adventurer was 20 when he went to the Amazonian rainforest

They were also fast running out of their meagre supply of rice and beans. Yossi said: “We were very hungry, walking long days and eating hardly anything.

“We shot and ate monkeys. Of course I wouldn’t have killed ­someone and eaten them but I can understand how people eat human flesh in that situation.

“I would have eaten anything. I would have eaten human flesh.

“When you reach that level of hunger, nothing is disgusting, nothing is appalling.”

Two weeks into the trip, they were no closer to finding the tribe or the gold. The group decided to split up.

Yossi and photographer Kevin would build a makeshift raft and continue the trip on the Tuichi River, while they persuaded Marcus to head back to civilisation with Karl on foot.

But once they set off on their raft, Yossi and his friend only got deeper into trouble.

Yossi, portrayed by Daniel, nearly drowned twice during his nightmare trek
FILM COMPANY
Yossi, portrayed by Daniel, nearly drowned twice during his nightmare trek[/caption]

Yossi, whose best-selling book about his experience has been adapted into the movie Jungle, out next week, said: “We lost control of the raft in the current and were smashed against a rock.”

Kevin made it to shore, but the Israeli was left clinging to the remnants of the raft as the waters raced him towards a waterfall with a sheer drop.

He said: “I was dragged along by the force of the water for half an hour.

“I struggled to keep my head above water as I smashed into rocks and fallen trees. The level of pain is beyond my ability to describe.”

But he managed to struggle to the riverbank where, all alone and without his luggage, he suddenly realised a quick death over the falls might have been his best option.

He recalled: “I thought I would have a long, miserable and violent death.”

But when his backpack was washed ashore, it gave him hope.

He said: “When I’d been drafted to the army, my uncle had given me a book and it was in the backpack.

The film about the jungle trek will be released next week
The film about the jungle trek will be released next week

He’d been through the Holocaust and told me the book had ­protected him — it was a religious book with no title.

“I didn’t believe in it. I thought he was going to give me a folding knife and I couldn’t hide my disappointment. But on the river I burst into tears when I found it. I thought, ‘I’m not going to die.’ ”

There were times over the next weeks that he began to doubt that, however. He faced attacks from wild boar, the constant threat of poisonous snakes, endless termite bites — and, on his sixth night alone in the jungle, that hungry jaguar.

Yossi had been asleep when he was awoken by rustling, and woke up face-to-face with the big cat.

Its eyes were locked on him and it was about to move in for the kill.

With no weapon, he grabbed the only things he had to hand — a can of mosquito repellent and a lighter — and improvised the flame-thrower.

Yossi said: “I learnt the trick from a James Bond movie.”

But the worst experience of all as he hiked day after day in what he hoped was the direction of the ­nearest settlement was the flesh and skin tearing from his feet.

The group were led into the jungle by Karl Ruprechter, who it transpired was not a geologist as he claimed but a criminal
The group were led into the jungle by Karl Ruprechter, who it transpired was not a geologist as he claimed but a criminal

They became so infected that soon he had no skin left. He said: “They were just chunks of exposed flesh. I couldn’t take the pain.

“I dragged myself to a tree full of fire ants and shook it on my head. The waves of pain and adrenaline distracted me from my feet.”

On the 17th day, a plane flew overhead but did not see him.

He recalled: “When the plane passed it just broke me, that surge of hope was the worst thing that happened to me.”

Yossi was sobbing in the mud when, to his amazement, he looked up and seemed to see a girl.

He said: “She appeared in the worst moment when I really gave up. I talked to her all the time but she didn’t talk back. I built a camp for us both and made a space for her to sleep next to me.” But then one night the girl vanished into thin air.

Thomas Kretschmann plays Karl
Thomas Kretschmann plays Karl

Yossi explained: “I was trying to hug her and I realised there was nobody there. I freaked out because if she’s not there it means I’m crazy.

“I thought I’d lost my sanity. I was very scared. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. Maybe my subconscious pulled it out?”

But he believes the “girl” saved his life — because she needed him.

He said: “That’s something very deep about human nature. We’ll do more to save someone else’s life than our own because I couldn’t help myself any more. I felt it was over.

“But the moment she was there, suddenly I had responsibility.”

Thomas and Daniel act in a scene in the film
Thomas and Daniel act in a scene in the film

On top of everything else, Yossi also nearly drowned — twice — after the worst storm in a decade hit the area. He said: “The second swamp I fell in, I couldn’t pull myself out. I was thinking of committing suicide, but then I thought that if I was going to kill myself I should have done it in the first couple of days.

“After 19 days of struggle, there was no way I was dying then.”

Yossi was rescued the next day.

Kevin, the American photographer he had been separated from during the rafting debacle, had managed to make his way to a settlement.

There he got a local man with a boat to take him out to look for his friend. After a long and fruitless hunt Kevin and the man had just given up and were turning back when Yossi spotted their boat on the river.

Today Yoshi is a tech entrepreneur and motivational speaker
Reuters
Today Yoshi is a tech entrepreneur and motivational speaker[/caption]

He said: “I tried to run and scream but found myself frozen and speechless.

“It was a miracle that Kevin looked back and saw me.” Yossi had lost more than two and a half stone and was “skin hanging on bones”. Locals still see his survival as a miracle.

He explained: “They say they wouldn’t have been able to make it.”

Marcus and Karl never came back from the expedition and no trace of them has ever been found.

Yossi later learned that Karl, played by Thomas Kretschmann in the film, was actually a wanted criminal.

He said: “He was no geologist and there was no tribe or gold.”

Now a tech entrepreneur and ­motivational speaker living in ­Australia with third wife Belinda and their three children, Yossi still spends a lot of time travelling.

He said: “It seems to be the story of my life.

“I’m more experienced and responsible now but no less naive and keen to live my life as a great adventure.”

 Jungle is in cinemas on October 20

 

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