By Megan Bianco
For all the influence and impact that classic movies have on pop culture, there’s also one unfortunate aspect that needs to be acknowledged. It feels like for every great, acclaimed film released, there are dozens of lesser-quality knockoffs of the movie. For horror, this definitely is the case with Tobe Hooper’s cult classic slasher, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Teddy Grennan’s new indie horror flick Ravage—playing drive-ins and on VOD—is no exception to the accusation. Not even bothering to be subtle about the distinct style over substance going on in the feature, Ravage has the bare minimum of plot, but with what appears to at least be self-awareness in its flashy direction.
Like most cliché slasher movies, Ravage begins with an innocent young blonde, this one a nature photographer named Harper (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), who secretly sees something she shouldn’t have while on a photo assignment into a local forest. When she goes to the police to report what she believes was torture, she’s quickly kidnapped by the perpetrators and is now on her own to escape their clutches deep in a barn in the middle of the wilderness.
Grennan’s new feature was originally titled Swing Low, and would be a reference to the traditional gospel-folk song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” which appears remixed on the soundtrack for a certain scene. Jacques Brautber’s music score in general is one of the more intriguing elements of the new movie, but the new title of Ravage is more aptly used because of its basic gore sequences throughout the film. Dexter-Jones, who has been in her share of schlocky B-movie horror films such as Jordan Galland’s Ava’s Possessions (2015) and Tara Subkoff’s #Horror (2016), is right at home as the protagonist who must carry essentially every scene. Film legend Bruce Dern even makes an appearance as the only big name in the cast. Ravage doesn’t really bring anything new to the horror/slasher genres, but it does have enough for fans of this type of movie.