THE RANGER (2018)
Chelsea (Chloë Levine) and her punk rocker friends are on the run after an incident leaves a police officer gravely wounded. They flee up to her deceased uncle Pete’s (Larry Fessenden) cabin deep in the woods to hide out. There they encounter a psychotic park ranger (Jeremy Holm) who is linked to Chelsea’s past and is not happy with her choice of friends.
Flick is directed with a nod to 80s slashers by Jenn Wexler from her script with Giaco Furino. It’s got a lot of the elements that provided the template for horror flicks of that era, such as, a deranged individual, past reveals and bloody kills. It’s not overly suspenseful or scary, but there are a few brutal moments. It’s heart is in the right place and it does evoke the type of films it’s paying homage to very well. Wexler knows her inspirations, with no better example than a head in a birdcage bringing back memories of Charles Kaufman’s cult classic Mother’s Day. Chloë Levine makes a strong and likable heroine and Jeremy Holm is effective as the demented ranger with an unhealthy attachment to Chelsea. On a technical level, the film looks good, the gore well-rendered and there is a nostalgic 80s style electronic score from Wade MacNeil and Andrew Gordon Macpherson, along with some 80s-esque punk rock songs. A fun slasher throwback from Jenn Wexler. Also stars Amanda Grace Benitez as Amber, Jeremy Pope as Jerk, Bubba Weiler as Abe and Granit Lahu as Chelsea’s boyfriend Garth. Now streaming on Shudder.