Tag-line: “Every year millions visit our national parks. Not everyone gets to leave.”
Release Date: 2018.
Director: Jenn Wexler.
Producers: Giles Daoust, Catherine Dumonceaux, Darryl F. Gariglio.
Written By: Giaco Furino and Jenn Wexler.
Cast: Chloe Levine, Jeremy Holm, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Bubba Weiler and Amanda Grace Benitez.
Running Time: 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Having seen horror movies with crazy doctors, dentists, police officers, cooks and a host of other professions, I had such high hopes for a nutty park ranger. Think about it. A national park is a great location for a horror movie. It is remote, secluded and full of natural dangers. From a fire axe to a shovel to firearms, a ranger has some wicked weapons at their disposal. Jenn Wexler’s The Ranger had so much slice and dice potential but in the end, it is more mash and mush.
Chelsea (Chloe Levine) is a troubled punker running with the wrong crowd led by her jerkwad boyfriend, Garth (Granit Lahu). The group are part wannabe punk band, part wannabe kingpins of crime only they couldn’t remember the words to Holiday in Cambodia or successfully rob a local bake sale if they tried.
One of their hair-brained schemes goes horribly sideways so Grungy and the Gang split to a secluded cabin owned by Chelsea’s family.
Returning to the cabin brings back all sorts of memories for Chelsea, some good and some bad. When her idiot friends start pissing all over the teachings of Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl and Iron Eyes Cody, Chelsea is quick to put them in their place.
A bonkers park ranger (Jeremy Holm) who takes his job way too seriously emerges from Chelsea’s past to terrify her present leading to the best part of the film – a kick ass final fight on a fire lookout tower. The thing is, it takes 46 minutes of the movie’s 77 minute runtime for The Ranger to show up and finally start eviscerating those meddling kids who are as annoying as the legal battle and fallout surrounding the Friday 13th film franchise.
Chloe Levine and Jeremy Holm are terrific in their roles, the real standouts of the film, but neither Chelsea nor her friends are appealing or interesting enough to keep us amused or intrigued for the first 46 minutes until the carnage begins.
The quality of that carnage fabricated by Brian Spears and Ashley K. Thomas though is well beyond the level of this sort of low-budget film. A scene in which one of the teens has to pull, rip and tear his injured leg out of a bear trap is particularly gruesome and awesome to watch.
I have some big time admiration for producer, editor, writer and director Jenn Wexler wearing so many hats and almost pulling this one off but unfortunately, the killer punk soundtrack is the best part of this film. The worst and most sinister part of The Ranger is you will have the song The Most Beautiful Girl by Charlie Rich playing in your head for days and perhaps weeks to come. If that isn’t pure terror, I don’t know what is.
Shot in the head.
Fire axe to the throat.
Shot then eaten by wolves.
Beaten with binoculars and shot to death.
Foot ripped off, eaten by wolves.
Jerk: Watch out for them wolves.
The Ranger: Yeah, she is just about gone.
The Ranger: Go on! Get after it!
The Ranger: Violators will be punished.
The Ranger: I am a big proponent of catch and release. If you can pry yourself loose, you are free to go.
The Ranger: I saw something in you. Something no one else saw.
Pints of Blood