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October 23, 2012

Movie Review: Ratline (2011)

First and foremost, I apologize for taking so long to get back to the site. Now, since that is out of the way, I’ve got another admission to make: I think I love Emily Haack. Don’t tell my wife (although she’ll probably read this) but, as an artist, I love Emily Haack. She is absolutely fearless in her decisions and brings a fierce, honest intensity to her roles. I think a great deal of her success (aesthetically) as an actor is her role as a filmmaker. The realism and, like I said earlier, intensity that she brings to her films (regardless of budget) makes her work stand out. When you’re dealing with an Eric Stanze production, though, intensity is required. I thoroughly enjoy Stanze’s work, beginning with Ice from the Sun through Deadwood Park (and even I Spit On Your Grave, I Piss On Your Corpse). The newest offering from Wicked Pixel, Ratline, continues the tradition. Although the story is a bit convoluted, and there were some obvious issues in the execution of such, Stanze and Haack are back for another kick ass, no holds barred exploitation gem complete with Nazis, lesbians, true love and wholesale murder. What more could anyone ask for?

Buy Ratline on VOD or rent Ratline on VOD!

Our story starts out pretty innocuous. Crystal (Haack) and her half-sister Kim (Alex Del Monacco) kill a bad guy and are on the run. The run, all serendipitous-like, to a small town and rent a room from Penny Webb (Sarah Swofford) whose uncle holds a Nazi relic that proves to be the key to Hitler’s arsenal of occult items. Frank Logan (screenwriter Jason Christ) arrives on the scene and all hell breaks loose. He knows about the relic, the uncle, the town, Crystal’s secrets and he is a superhuman badass. Thankfully, for us, quite a few people get in Frank’s way. Let the carnage begin.

In Ratline we can really see the evolution of a filmmaker in Stanze. He is far more reserved than in his previous outings. By no means do I think his penchant for extreme violence and disturbing imagery has been mitigated. The converse, really. Ratline is equally as disturbing and intense as Stanze’s Scrapbook… it is simply more subtle. The only real fault in Ratline lies in the script. The story is a bit too large in scope to accurately pull off with the budget that Stanze and company had to work with.

Did I mention I love Emily Haack? Not in a creepy, stalker call her number kind of way (although I’m not beyond that, ask my wife). It truly boggles my mind that she hasn’t been picked up in a bigger budget kind of way. In Ratline Haack’s performance really holds the film together. The performances from the ancillary characters are, predictably, a little soft and wooden (being a veteran of the low budget horror game myself I understand that particular casting process) but Haack and Swofford’s chemistry pull the film together.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I highly recommend Ratline. In addition, I always enjoy a film that makes you think and it starts at the title with Ratline. The film is scheduled for release on September 6th on DVD from Wicked Pixel Cinema and is currently available on VOD worldwide.

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