DIRECTOR: Branden Kramer
WRITER: Branden Kramer
Rebecca Naomi Jones
Michael William Freeman
Emma is a student who has recently moved to Brooklyn and into her new apartment. Far from home, she is currently studying and adjusting to her new life in the big city. Little does Emma realise that she may not be alone in her new apartment. Someone has been watching her every move and hacked into every piece of her technology. As her stalker becomes more obsessed with her. His invasion of her privacy escalates to horrifying heights.
I'm one of those horror movie fans that is incredibly torn when it comes to the whole Found Footage sub-genre. I applaud the original Blair Witch Project as a masterpiece of psychological horror. It also had one of the most creepy, intelligent, and mysterious campaigns leading up to its eventual blockbuster release back in 1999. It's also said to be one of the pioneering films that gave birth to Found Footage. I'm also a fan of the first Paranormal Activity and the Spanish horror film REC. Paranormal Activity kind of breathed new life into the Found Footage film.
Ever since 2007, the Found Footage genre has exploded with dozens of films a year. It's gotten to that point where Found Footage has become fatiguing as an audience member. It also doesn't help that the ratio of good Found Footage films is a lot less compared to the horrible ones that are shifted into cinemas in hopes of a quick buck. It's rare these days that we get one that's special. It's become a case of 'I've seen it all before'. The genre just doesn't feel all that original anymore.
Ratter is sadly a film that I found falls just short of securing a positive review. I've seen Ratter twice now, and it pretty much had the same effect on me on its second viewing. I neither enjoyed it anymore or any less than I did the first time. The film is a slow burn type of story. It takes its sweet time in building up to an ending that will either anger and disappoint audience members or delight people who enjoy the sheer bleakness of how dark the film turns out. It is, however, an ending that isn't highly original as I've seen it in other genre movies before.
The biggest problem that Ratter faces is the first fifty minutes of the movie. It's just not much happens at all in this time. The fact that the film is light on suspense and scares makes the fifty minutes an almost struggle to get through. Shadows and the odd voyeuristic shot just isn't enough to build the tension or get the film going. After the first fifty minutes, the movie starts to deliver on its creepy premise. The stalker begins to up his game and things begin to start getting more intense. It's just a little too late when the film is only an hour and twenty minutes long.
My favourite moment in Ratter for me is the ending. Even on a second viewing, the ending gave me absolute chills. As I said above, it's an ending that people will either love or hate. The ending is exceptionally dark. It's not a happy one at all and when it strikes, it's incredibly unsettling. The movie scores points just for that ending which I loved just as much as I did when seeing it the first time. I also stated above that this is an ending that's been done to some degree before but with this film, I think I had expected an entirely different outcome to the one I got, and for that, it worked on a creepy level.
Pretty Little Liars' Ashley Benson is the main focus in this movie, and for the entire running time, she owns it. She's a pretty talented actress and gives it a good go in this film. During the one hour and twenty minutes running time, I grew to really like her character, and by the film's end, you want to see this character get out alive and make it to safety. I think it's a testament to the performance of Ashley Benson. She really does make you feel for her as she goes through some pretty nasty stuff in this film. The ending brings out her best, and it will give you absolute chills.
Matt McGorry who is best known for his work on How To Get Away With Murder and Orange Is The New Black plays the nice guy and love interest. He's not really given much to do in the movie besides looking pretty and to be the caring new man on the scene. I think he is there to also make you believe he's the stalker. If we are going by those, he knocks it out of the park. Also was shocked to see a blink and you'll miss it role from Karl Glusman who was recently seen in Gaspar Noe's Love.
Lastly, Ratter has some further problems that come across as 'I'm left with questions'. I found myself wondering how the stalker managed to keep accessing her apartment so often. It felt really implausible as a lot of buildings in Brooklyn and NYC are only accessible by being buzzed in. I had to assume that her stalker was a neighbour or she lived in a building that had no buzz-in access. I had several questions throughout the film. Not everything connected and these felt like elements that took away from the finished film.
DEATH TOLL: 0 (Left up to interpretation)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A dead cat.
- A girl is attacked. Screams and a struggle are heard.
A lot of the violence is not shown and offscreen.
Ratter is a film that has its moments. The ending is an extremely unsettling one, and an excellent central lead performance from Ashley Benson are the standout moments. The movie, however, falls short with a few implausible moments and a very slow build up. The first fifty minutes of this movie, nothing really happens and this is where the film has it's biggest problems. If it had more tension in the build-up, I believe I might have enjoyed the movie a lot more.