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