The slasher movie, for all its fun, has often been noted for carrying conservative overtones, especially prominent in the heat of the sub-genre in the 1980’s. The victims usually being rebellious teens who smoke, drink, have pre-marital sex and disregard authority and the rules, leading them to an untimely and often gruesome demise with the ‘final’ girl usually being the pure member of the group. Now comes a slasher movie where the entire cast are delinquents fighting a psychotic authority figure in Jenn Wexler’s The Ranger!
The story follows Chelsea (Chloe Levine) as she takes her punk friends to her family’s old cabin in the woods so they can evade the police after her boyfriend Garth (Granit Lahu) stabs a cop. The gang has a bag of drugs, punk music, shop-lifted food, and enough beer to last. But they couldn’t foresee their biggest obstacle being one psychotically overzealous Park Ranger (Jeremy Holm) who doesn’t take kindly to miscreants running amok in his woods…
At its core, The Ranger is a traditional slasher film. You got teens going out into the forest only to encounter a crazed killer who starts picking them off one-by-one for their perceived misdeeds. But it is in fact more than that. It’s the 80’s-set slasher Green Room evocative of Return Of The Living Dead (with a few homages) with a full-on cast of punk rockers in a life or death battle with an insane authority figure. On that note, Jeremy Holm really stands out as the titular Ranger.
Affable, kindly, and dead serious about the rules and regulations of ‘his’ mountain. He’s in total contrast to our group of punks, appearing in the beginning prologue set to Charlie Rich’s pop-country hit “The Most Beautiful Girl” in opposition to the hardcore punk soundtrack and themes of the main cast. But he meets all the staples of slasher villains that have come before him. Slaughtering delinquents for minor transgressions while spouting one-liners and using his ranger theme and gear to deadly and brutal ends. Every scene he emerges from the woods like the forest’s ghoulish guardian is always a memorable one. More Psycho Cop than Freddy Krueger, but with the outdoors themes of Jason Voorhees and the killer of The Final Terror. An unhinged naturalist who seems obsessed with ‘survival of the fittest’, and Chelsea in particular.
Chelsea herself stands out as our lead. She shares the same rebellious nature of her friends, but even she is disgusted by their shallow disdain for the nature around her family’s cabin. Deriding them for spray painting trees and setting unsafe bonfires, she shares more qualities with the ranger than she’d care to admit. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, even when she comes into conflict with her friends. Questioning Garth’s plans and how they’re going to outrun the law. She’s resourceful and knows her way in the wilderness with secrets about her past to the cabin and The Ranger to be seen.
The rest of the punk crew are interesting in their own ways. Jerk (Jeremy Pope) and Abe (Bubba Weiler) are a gay couple who genuinely love and care for one another, in stark contrast to Chelsea and Garth’s often tense relationship. Amber (Amanda Grace Benitez) is the more laid back punk, contrasting Chelsea in both hair and attitude. The cast does well in displaying their friendship through the movie as they go from the raided punk show to the van and into the woods. Which makes it genuinely heartfelt when tragedy and horror befalls them. The cast of characters are actual characters with relationships with one another that shows they do truly care about one another, a lynchpin that is sadly absent from many films of the genre. Director Jenn Wexler has made a slasher movie that absolutely feels genuine in everything from story to tone. Though genre throwback movies are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, The Ranger treats the slasher themes and punk aesthetic respectfully, with comedy mainly coming from it, instead of at it.
Overall, if you’re looking for something that feels like it came from the horror heydays of the eighties, The Ranger comes recommended. The Ranger is in select theaters in New York and will be hitting VOD and Digital in September.
‘Final Destination 6’ Coming to HBO Max From ‘Freaks’ Filmmakers
Freaks filmmakers, Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein have been brought on board to direct an upcoming Final Destination 6 for HBO Max. Jon Watts is on as producer with Lori Evans and Guy Buswick as writers.
“I will say that it’s not just going to be another kind of ‘we set up a group of people, they cheat death, and then just death gets them.’ And there’s one wrinkle that we kind of added to every movie to kind of like change it up a little bit: this one is… a true Final Destination movie, but it doesn’t follow that kind of formula that we’ve kind of established.” Jeffrey Reddick told Dread Central.
The synopsis for the first Final Destination went like this:
Alex Browning (Devon Sawa), is embarking on a trip to Paris. Alex experiences a premonition — he sees the plane explode moments after leaving the ground. Alex insists that everyone get off the plane and 7 people including Alex, are forced to disembark. All watch as the plane actually explodes in a fireball. He and the other survivors have briefly cheated death, but will not be able to evade their fate for very long. One by one, these fugitives from fate fall victim to the grim reaper.
We will keep you updated on all things Final Destination.
Stranger Things Season 4 Blooper Reel
As part of the TUDUM: A Global Fan Event releases, Netflix has given Stranger Things fans a nice little treat. I’m a huge fan of behind-the-scenes and blooper reels! I loved seeing the characters we know so well break the 4th wall when overwhelmed with a case of the giggles. Even the powerful Vecna couldn’t escape landing on the Stranger Things season 4 blooper reel!
Watch our favorite actors break character in this brand new blooper reel below. 🤣
We also found some other behind-the-scenes videos from Stranger Things Season 4 that we thought you would like. With the news of Stranger Things Season 5 being the end of the series, we’re watching all these videos before we have to say our final goodbye. I don’t think we’re ready for this story to end. 😭 Until then, have a laugh with our friends from Hawkins, Indiana!
‘Cloverfield’ Film Finds a Director To Helm Next Entry
We have seen an incredible three Cloverfield-based films so far. The latest being Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix. The latest in the series also managed to lose steam for the secretive franchise. It went too far into the explanation of secrets that we had seen in the first two films. Once the wizard is discovered behind the curtain the game loses its momentum and fun. The upcoming Cloverfield film has found its director from Under the Shadow’s Babak Anvari.
The director’s Under the Shadow was a great piece of horror. It was entirely effective in its scares and story.
There is no word on where the fourth Cloverfield film will take audiences. But, that is for the best. These films have always been shrouded in secrecy and that is what has made them fun. Well… the first two films anyway.
The synopsis for Cloverfield went like this:
As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know that they will soon face the most terrifying night of their lives. A creature the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Using a handheld video camera, the friends record their struggle to survive as New York crumbles around them.
We are happy to see that Anvari is going to helm this entry. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the franchise and to see what direction this entry takes.
What has been your favorite Cloverfield chapter?