Review: The Ranger

Score: D

Director: Jenn Wexler

Cast: Chloe Levin, Jeremy Holm, Granit Lahu, Bubba Weiler

Running Time: 77 Minutes

Rated: NR

When teen punks, on the run from the law, hide out in the woods they stumble onto something much more sinister… an unhinged park ranger with an ax to grind.

The Ranger is a throwback to the Troma films of the 80s – with a tiny blend of 70s art house - all set to a punk soundtrack.  I wish I could say that this was a good thing, or that it was done well, but I cannot.

While the cinematography is quite good: the angles, the shots, the color, they are all really good.  But in this day and age you can’t really escape the frustration and pain that comes with sub-par acting and shameful writing.  It affects every part o the film, preventing any of it from reaching a desirable status.

While one’s first instinct is to throw all the blame on the actors, you have to realize that the dialogue is messy, contrived and unoriginal.  Every line feels as if it was conceived after the writers did whatever drugs the characters were on – which is somewhat giving them too much credit given the situation.

The film's first “funny” moment doesn’t occur until the eighteen-minute mark, and though its hard to point out which flaw hurts the most, the lack of emotional connection towards any of the characters makes all the rest a mute point.  I commend the creative team for including a gay couple that you somewhat root for, but you don’t have any real connection to them – making their eventual demise all the less dramatic.

Though The Ranger could have been halfway saved by The Ranger himself, the film’s villain is just as ridiculous as one would fear. Maybe, in better hands, he could have been something better, but that is doubtful.  Without an interesting origin story, our leading villain just exists – with absolutely no rhyme or reason why.  Maybe he is just a psycho, but even Halloween prepared its audiences better – and that film came out forty years ago.

Even when is partially interested, the action gets ham-fisted down our throats.  Jenn Wexler and James Siewert, her cinematographer, took an unbearable film and made it somewhat bearable to watch, but only just.  They both have a wonderful eye and I hope they can collaborate again on a film more worthy of their talents.


About Robert Bexar II

Robert Bexar II

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