The Morgan Freeman Serial Killer Thriller Crushing On Streaming

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

The Ritual Killer

As the world of entertainment continues to evolve with the development of technology, streaming has almost completely taken over—long gone are the days of VHS tapes and DVDs, but still, Redbox Entertainment is managing to stick around. In fact, the company that manages the Redbox DVD rental service (that most of us have probably forgotten about) is joining the ranks of Netflix and other streamers that distribute their own movies. The company recently released The Ritual Killer, starring Morgan Freemon, and the film is currently streaming at #3 on Hulu according to Flix Patrol.

The film was renamed The Ritual Killer to draw emphasis on the terrible rituals that the killer performs before taking his victims’ lives.

Directed by George Gallo, The Ritual Killer stars Morgan Freeman as Dr. Mackles, an anthropologist who teaches at a local college. Yellowstone’s Cole Hauser co-stars as a detective on the brink of retirement who is struggling to cope with the death of his daughter. Working together, the pair set out to track down a vicious killer on a murder spree throughout Carlton, Mississippi. 

The Ritual Killer first went into production in 2021 and it was announced that Gallo would direct a film called Muti, named after the dark magic that the serial killer practices in the film. Later, the film was renamed The Ritual Killer to draw emphasis on the terrible rituals that the killer performs before taking his victims’ lives. Soon after Gallo was signed on to the project, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, Peter Stormare, and Vernon Davis joined the cast.

Morgan Freeman and Cole Hauser in The Ritual Killer

It took a collective of imaginations to draw together the script for The Ritual Killer, with Robert T. Bowersox, Jennifer Lemmon, Francesco Cinquemani, Giorgia Iannone, Luca Giliberto, and Ferdinando Dell’Omo all coming together to write the script, with story help from Joe Lemmon. Morgan Freeman and the rest of the cast filmed in late summer 2021 in Jackson, Mississippi, with additional footage captured in Rome, Italy.

The Ritual Killer is the third most streamed movie right now on Hulu.

While The Ritual Killer managed to snag some major Hollywood clout by hiring blockbuster names like Morgan Freeman, the film remained a low-budget independent feature produced by Iervolino & Lady Bacardi Entertainment.

The film was made with an estimated budget of somewhere between $7 and $17 million and was given a limited release in theaters. While the film was also released on demand, the main mode of distribution for this action-thriller was through Redbox locations on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Unfortunately, despite Morgan Freeman and Cole Hauser being attached to the project, the film was barely marketed and it ended up scoring only $281,150 after release, with the majority of the audience coming from Russia.

However, while this resulted in a major loss for the studios in charge of The Ritual Killer, its streaming comeback on Hulu might be able to repair some of the financial damage, though turning a profit for the film seems unlikely.

Morgan Freeman as Dr. Mackles in The Ritual Killer

Morgan Freeman at 86

Despite being 86 years old, Morgan Freemon is not looking to retire any time soon. The Ritual Killer was one of five projects the actor has releasing this year. He also stars next to Florence Pugh in A Good Person, a drama by Zach Braff that was released in March 2023 about a woman whose life falls apart after being involved in a lethal accident.

Additionally, Freeman appeared in an episode of The Muppets Mayhem, which was also released earlier this year, and will soon be appearing in four episodes of Special Ops: Lioness starring Zoe Saldana, which premiered on July 23.

Even in his late 80s, Morgan Freeman continues to work and The Ritual Killer will not be among his last projects. The celebrated actor has six projects in various stages of production that will be released over the next couple of years. 57 Seconds, Gunner, Hate to See You Go, Sniff, My Dead Friend Zoe, and The Little Bedroom will soon be added to Freeman’s portfolio, topping off the number of projects the actor has been involved in at a sweet 150—making Freeman one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood.

Though not every project Morgan Freeman acted in was considered a critical success. While the actor has been in some incredible movies that are now deemed classics (looking at you, Shawshank Redemption), he’s also been in quite a few duds. In fact, The Ritual Killer is considered by critics to be one of these duds, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the movie only an 11 percent approval rating. 

Still, people on Hulu (and Russia) seem to like it. So, if you’re down to watch something new and are a fan of Morgan Freeman’s acting prowess, consider adding The Ritual Killer to your movie list.