#31in31 2019 – “The Ranger”

“Violators will be punished.”

Story: Years ago Chelsea’s uncle was “killed by a wolf” while they were at his deep woods cabin. Now teenage Chelsea is a punk aficionado hanging out with a group of other middle class kids playing tough. But when one idiot gets in trouble with the po-po, they head to that old cabin in the woods. And hey, they run into the park ranger she used to know. He seems nice and not the least bit obsessive or anything.

Scares: A few jumps.

Splat factor: Some blood and light dismemberment. Remember, pick up your body parts when in your National Park. Leave nothing but footprints.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Nup, it’s just cool, and a nice wrap to Chelsea’s character development.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Original.

Trick or Treat?: An interesting mash-up of Friday the 13th and Green Room. Writer/director Jenn Wexler crafts a creepy story that blends obsession, punk rock, and slasher tropes.

At the start of the film Chelsea is the only likable character in her crowd. Unlike the rest, she’s obviously growing out of the suburban punk angst. But the other four? Absolute morons content to call stupidity anarchy. But as shit hits the fan, we get glimpses of the people they truly are; scared kids.

Meanwhile, the Ranger himself is delightfully nutso. Jeremy Holm with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, this is one government official who takes his job way too seriously. Think Dwight from The Office with a bloody disposition. He’s a great new villain in the slasher genre, a force of the nature he loves so much.

At eighty minutes, the action comes fast, with a nice blend of tension, gore, and straight up weirdness. Dig the outrageously cool punk soundtrack that’s worth the price of admission, (with one 70s ballad to keep things suitably off-kilter…) Oh, and keep an eye out for director/character actor Larry Fessenden as Chelsea’s Uncle Pete. Hey there!

Score: 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins.

This entry was posted in 31 in 31, In Horror, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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