This movie has been getting a lot of buzz, so I thought it was time for me to finally check it out. I also figured that since it feels like a slasher movie, or at least has a body count, I’d stick it in this marathon. I mean stupid kids go into the woods and die… seems like a good fit.
The story starts off with a creepy Ranger having a conversation with a young girl. It is fairly cryptic, but there is clearly something not right. Then we fast forward to years later where she is a punk girl in her twenties. Chelsea, the girl, is hanging out with her friends at a rave. The group seems to be mostly scum bags as they are selling drugs and end up stabbing a cop when the party gets raided. This leads them to hiding out in Chelsea’s cabin, which of course is in the woods. Cue creepy ranger and a series of flashbacks as she starts to remember what happened. As she puts her past together the ranger starts to pick off her friends one by one. I guess that is a spoiler but really after thirty seconds on screen you have to know he is the killer!
This is a decent movie, but I honestly don’t get what some people are raving about. The plot is familiar with a lead character harboring a deep secret, in this case one that she has blocked out. Due to her self-destructive behavior she has made friends with a bunch of assholes. This group heads off into an unfamiliar environment only to meet a threat they were unprepared for. Then the bad stuff starts. Nothing new here. I also need to point out that they spend a lot of time establishing the characters before the killing starts. This is the worst part of the movie as I really didn’t like any of the kids other than Chelsea, who was interesting. Oh, I totally forgot about the ranger. The actor who portrays him, Jeremy Holm, is creepy as hell and is clearly having a blast. When you like the killer more than most of the victims that might not be a good sign.
|I found myself rooting for the Ranger|
When things get rolling (aka. the murdering) The Ranger does pick up and starts to get fun. The kills aren’t terribly imaginative, but we do get a couple of fun gags. One with an axe and another extended bit with a bear trap that will have you cringing. I was very disappointed to see a gun used on several occasions. You build the ranger character up to be a crazy dude and then he just shoots people? While probably realistic I found that very disappointing. Though there is a brutal bit at the end with some binoculars that isn’t a kill but is very bloody and well done.
I know I’m coming off a bit more critical here than I mean to. This is not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. While slow in parts you have a good killer and protagonist with some decent kills sprinkled in. I can see where it could have been so much better, but that doesn’t take away from what we do get. Manage your expectations and I think you will have fun. With that I’m recommending The Ranger.
© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer
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