RAVAGE ** USA 2019 Dir: Teddy Grennan. 77 mins
After escaping a harrowing confrontation, photographer Harper Sykes (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) lies in bed talking to Superintendent Slayton (Michael Weaver) about what led her there. Regaling the story about her latest assignment documenting nature in the area, she ends up stumbling across Nash (Eric Nelson) killing a victim and leaving him for dead of which she takes pictures of and flees. When they notice what she’s done, they chase after her where the group eventually captures her and holds her hostage with Ravener (Robert Longstreet) the local leader. After enduring plenty of torture and barbaric humiliation as she tries to get away, she finally manages to get the upper-hand on him and his goons leading to a wild series of confrontations in the wilderness that shows her survival skills are more than enough to save her from their simple-minded quest.
Overall, “Ravage” could’ve been much better had it fixed a few minor areas. The barbaric torture and cruelty dished out here are on par with what was offered in the glory days of the ‘Torture Porn’ scene if not in sheer graphicness but the brutal concept. The idea of her using her survivalist skills that they’re unaware of makes the scenes of her taking out the ruthless gang of henchmen have quite a lot of impressive action here, and with the fine beauty of the area being put to good use the film manages to look good cinematically. The biggest issue is the jarring and discordant screenplay that doesn’t have much going for, recreating tropes of the rape/revenge genre that won’t go the extra mile it easily could’ve. Relying constantly on the kill someone off, get captured and tortured, then escape and repeat the process is obvious and makes this wear out its welcome quite quickly and goes somewhat overboard in doing things, while the complete lack of backstory about Harper to denote how she’s the way she is makes this completely tense-less with the knowledge she’ll come up with something to get herself out of the mess. This writing holds it back from what could’ve been a better genre effort.
Review by Don Anelli