7. The Ritual
Essentially, the whole movie is an extended play of Paimon’s ritual. Positioned from the point of the ‘lambs to the slaughter’ as it were from Annie Graham and her family’s perspective, we as the audience are supposed to be confused - as we are never given the full rundown of how each step progresses for the cultists.
From what we can see in the movie, it’s fair to say that the ritual is something that has been going on for quite some time, put into effect once the grandmother, Leigh, passes away at the start of the film. This is the catalyst that sparks years of preparation, bringing together the creepy smiling collective of Paimon worshippers to finally achieve their goal. Boxes of pictures from years worth of celebrations, worship, and friendship between the cultists evidences this when Annie finally goes digging.
Throughout the film, these horrible naked people can be seen in varying levels of obviousness, appearing at the funeral to act weird, hiding in dark corners, even watching through the window when Peter is smoking, as we can see hot breath creeping back into the shot from across the garden. The family is constantly under surveillance as their watchers prepare themselves for Paimon’s arrival - showing that everything has been carefully orchestrated to function exactly as it plays out.