For all the influence and impact 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 that movie.
For the horror genre, this is definitely the case with Tobe Hooper’s cult classic slasher The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and Teddy Grennan’s new indie horror flick Ravage at drive-ins and on VOD is no exception to the accusation. Not even bothering to be subtle about style over substance, Ravage has the bare minimum of plot, but at least demonstrates self-awareness with 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 while on a photo assignment in a local forest. When she goes to the police to report what she believes was torture, she’s quickly kidnapped by the perpetrators she saw earlier, and is now on her own to escape their clutches deep inside a barn in the middle of the wilderness.
Director Teddy Grennan’s new feature seems to have gone through several working titles since premiering on the film festival circuit last year. Some sources online still refer to it as Swing Low, but the producers apparently decided to go with Ravage as a last minute re-titling. The former title would be a reference to the traditional gospel-folk song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” that appears remixed on the soundtrack for a scene.
Jacques Brautber’s music score is actually one of the more intriguing elements of the new movie, but the new title more aptly describes the basic gore sequences throughout the film. Dexter-Jones, who has starred in her share of schlocky B-movie horror like Jordan Galland’s Ava’s Possessions (2015) and Tara Subkoff’s #horror (2016), fits right at home as the protagonist who has to carry essentially every scene. Film legend Bruce Dern makes an appearance as the only big name in the cast.
Ravage doesn’t really bring anything new to the horror/slasher genre, but it does have enough for fans of these kind of movies.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge