Directed by George Gallo, ‘The Ritual Killer’ is a crime film that revolves around Detective Lucas Boyd, who comes across a series of puzzling and gruesome murders in Clinton, Mississippi. Since the murders are committed as part of African rituals, Boyd seeks the help of African scholar Dr. Mackles to unravel the mystery behind the same. Starring Cole Hauser as Boyd and Morgan Freeman as Mackles, the film progresses through the duo’s efforts to capture the evil force behind the deaths that startle them. Since the film ends with several ambiguous developments, we have taken a deep dive into the same. Let us share our thoughts! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Ritual Killer Plot Synopsis
‘The Ritual Killer’ begins with Italian police officer Marco Lavazzi investigating a gruesome murder that’s committed in Rome. His investigation leads him to Randoku, who kills several police officers to avoid his arrest. He meets with a businessman named Shelby Farner, who hires him for a mysterious assignment. In Clinton, Mississippi, Detective Boyd’s career as a police officer is hanging by a thread since he is not able to separate his daughter Jessica’s death from his profession. He comes across a dead body of a young woman, recovered from a river, with her genitals removed. As he wonders who is behind the crime, Randoku kidnaps a ten-year-old from the same city.
Soon, Boyd and his partner Maria are called to the abandoned building where the ten-year-old boy’s dead body is found with several materials related to African rituals. Boyd takes the same to Dr. Mackles, who hesitates to talk to the police officer. After Boyd’s persistence, Mackles reveals that the police officer is investigating a sangoma, the South African counterpart of a witch doctor. Mackles adds that the killer is harvesting organs from his victims to make potions that can enhance the prosperity and growth of his clients. Farner informs Randoku that he wants a young and smart individual to be the latter’s next target. As the sangoma tries to find one, the cops find him.
Randoku escapes from Boyd and his squad by severely injuring the detective’s partner Maria. Boyd gets Lavazzi’s card from Randoku’s apartment and he calls the Italian police officer, who lets the detective know that Fernan is the one behind the serial killer. Boyd meets Farner and threatens to hurt him. Randoku, despite being on the run, traps Katie to kill her to fulfill his client’s wish to have his “medicine” made using the organs of a young and smart person. Katie’s disappearance leads Boyd to find the properties owned by Farner’s company by the river. He finds a property and arrives at the same with Mackles.
The Ritual Killer Ending: Why Does Dr. Mackles Disappear? Why Did He Meet With Randoku?
When Boyd tries to rescue Katie from Randoku, Farner attacks the detective from behind. Mackles then hits the businessman and confronts Randoku himself. Although the sangoma tries to kill the professor, the latter succeeds in stabbing the former. Eventually, Boyd manages to rescue Katie. He later receives a call from Lavazzi, who tells him that Randoku was in Rome nine months ago to attend a lecture delivered by Mackles and meet the professor several times. By the time Boyd reaches out to Mackles’ office, the professor has disappeared from his workplace taking an indefinite leave of absence.
Mackles seemingly disappears to find Randoku, who manages to escape from the authorities despite getting stabbed by the professor. The African scholar can be the one who introduced the international criminal to the potential of muti, the South African tradition of medicine practiced by sangomas. The lecture delivered by Mackles in Rome can be related to the particular practice and the same might have made Randoku realize that he could sell the same to international businessmen such as Farner. He might have gotten acquainted with Mackes as someone enthusiastically interested in the subject and his “enthusiasm” must have captivated the professor enough for them to subsequently meet and seemingly discuss the practice.
Mackles may have realized that he taught a cold-blooded murderer to earn a living by killing innocent lives only after Boyd collaborates with him to bring down the ritual killer. The professor may have felt guilty for indirectly causing the deaths of several individuals, including a ten-year-old boy. The same guilt may have forced him to pursue Randoku after the latter escaped from the authorities so that he can put an end to the murders committed according to the knowledge he likely imparted to the killer. Even when Randoku realizes that Mackles is the one helping Boyd capture him, he decides against killing the professor, likely because of the role he played in the former’s success as a sangoma.
Is Randoku Dead?
After Katie’s rescue and Randoku’s escape, Boyd reaches a dead end. Although he comes to know that Randoku and Mackles were previously acquainted, he fails to do anything about it due to the professor’s disappearance. That’s when he receives an anonymous package. He opens the same and comes across a note that reads, “I GOT HIM,” written by the professor. Mackles’ note indicates that he got Randoku. Since the package also contains a pair of eyes that seemingly belonged to Randoku, it is evident that the professor hasn’t been kind to the ritual killer. Considering the possibility that Mackles unknowingly taught Randoku the African practice of muti, the professor must have killed the ritual killer to put an end to the murders committed using the knowledge he likely imparted.
In addition, Boyd is not the only one who receives an anonymous package. The Italian police officer Marco Lavazzi also receives one. Considering what’s inside the package delivered to Boyd, it is safe to assume that the package delivered to Lavazzi has another organ that belonged to Randoku. If that’s the case, the ritual killer must have bled to death the same way his victims have died. Since Mackles pursues Randoku likely to deal with his guilt of causing several deaths, the professor must have killed the ritual killer to honor the deaths of the latter’s victims.
Mackles may have even worn the apparel of a sangoma to kill Randoku the same way he killed his victims. Since Mackles sends his victim’s organs to Boyd and Lavazzi the same way Randoku has sent human organs to his clients, it is safe to assume that the professor has given Randoku a taste of his own medicine. Since sangomas are believed to be highly powerful beings, it wouldn’t have been easy for Mackles to capture and kill Randoku. His unparalleled knowledge of the African culture must have helped the professor when he sets out to kill the ritual killer. If that’s the case, Mackles must have used the same knowledge Randoku used to be a killer to kill the latter.
Why Does Detective Boyd Eat Randoku’s Eyes?
After reading Mackles’ note, Boyd picks up the pair of eyes in the package and puts the same in his mouth. Although he struggles considerably, Boyd manages to eat the eyes that seemingly belonged to Randoku. When Boyd investigates the ritual murders, Mackles explains the practice of muti to the detective. The professor details how sangomas target human organs for their clients since each organ has a distinct effect. According to Mackles, genitals are harvested for virility and good luck while the brain is targeted for knowledge and political power. In the case of eyes, ones who consume the same are supposed to receive farsightedness and clarity of vision.
After killing Randoku as per the practice of muti, Mackles must have thought that his organs shouldn’t go to waste. The professor possibly sends Boyd the pair of eyes for the detective to receive farsightedness and clarity of vision, which may have a metaphorical explanation as well. The farsightedness and clarity of vision Mackles wants to offer Boyd don’t have to be physical. The professor can be meaning the detective’s vision to correctly comprehend the gravity of the situation when he discovers a couple of dead bodies even when his superior takes it lightly. Mackles may want Boyd to enhance such a vision to anticipate crimes so that he can stop killers and other criminals like Randoku before they cause a catastrophe.
As far as Boyd is concerned, eating Randoku’s eyes can be his way of expressing his anger towards the ritual killer. Since Randoku nearly kills his partner Maria, Boyd may have wanted to exact his vengeance on the former himself, which doesn’t materialize when Mackles kills the international criminal. By eating Randoku’s eyes, Boyd can be participating in an act of revenge in his mind.
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