Punk rockers fall in between the crosshairs in Jenn Wexler's The Ranger. The film is a send up to the 80's origin of slasher films. Wrexler hits all of the genre's staples. A young girl lead Chelsea (Chloe Levine), her lecherous boyfriend Garth (Granit Lahu) and the rest of the punk crew that have to get out of the city to hid after a run-in with the law. The group gets into a graffiti-laden van headed to Chelsea's family cabin in the woods to hide out until the heat cools down. There they meet The Ranger (Jeremy Holm) whom Chelsea knows from her youth a stickler for the Park rules whose method of punishment to violators is much stronger than a ticket, fine or expulsion from the grounds.
Once at the cabin the teens do teenage things, smoking inside despite Chelsea's complaints, chase each other around, spray paint trees, party hard and, play loud music and build a fire. Chelsea returns to the cabin after a bit of alone time to find this scene that is disrupted by two precise rifle shots. The second taking the films first victim.
Chloe Levine's performance as Chelsea is the strongest element of the film. She has a violent streak in her as evidenced by the events from the prologue, her contemplated act during the run-in with the police and her respect for the rules even if it means calling out her friends. Jeremy Holm is more developed than normal for a slasher villain as the Ranger. He has a history with Chelsea, is practical and logical in his kills not straying away from State code.
The Ranger is a horror film that is more of a crowd pleaser than a seat squirmier. It's a good choice for those looking for a horror lite film. Chloe Levine's Chelsea comes to the fore embracing fully her darker nature in the final third of the production. On the other hand the hardcore horror watcher will find the frequency and ferociousness of the killings somewhat lacking.
**1/2 Out of 4.
The Ranger | Jenn Wexler | U.S.A.| 2018| 77 Minutes.
Tags: Punk Rock, Anarchy, Police, Raid, Cabin, Stabbing, Bear Trap, Rules, Spray Paint, Sandwich, Milk, Charlie Rich.