THE RAKE (2018)

The Rake.jpg

Studio:       Sony Pictures Home Ent.
Director:    Tony Wash
Writer:       Jeremy Silva, Tony Wash
Producer:  Mike Dozier, Tony Wash, Robert Patrick Stern, Sarah Sharp, Angela Cox, Jim Petersen, Jason Kain
Stars:     Rachel Melvin, Shenae Grimes-Beech, Joey Bicicchi, Stephen Brodie, Joe Nunez, Izabella Miko

Review Score:



Troubled siblings confront the supernatural creature responsible for murdering their parents twenty years earlier.



When they were children, Ashley and Ben stood helpless in stark terror as serial killer Jacob Murphy murdered their parents.  Murphy, a patient of Ashley and Ben¡¯s psychiatrist father, claimed to be possessed by a creepypasta creature called ¡®The Rake.¡¯  Murphy subsequently planted an insidious seed in the siblings¡¯ heads when he warned, ¡°it will infect us all¡± before ending the home invasion horror show by slitting his throat.

Medication helped Ben cope with the multifaceted trauma while Ashley has been in and out of institutions for twenty years.  Now the troubled siblings are reuniting at a housewarming party for their other sister Nicole, whose family adopted the orphaned duo following the deaths. Additional guests include spouses such as Nicole¡¯s perpetually perturbed husband, a random friend who may as well have ¡°Fodder¡± written across his forehead, and The Rake, who has stepped out of Ashley¡¯s nightmares to return to reality for more body-swapping bloodshed.

Ashley has already been through quite a harrowing experience.  But no one undergoes a more grueling ordeal than any viewer who dares dull his/her brain with ¡°The Rake.¡±

Thanks to the ease with which cynicism and snipes are inspired, bad films often lead me to write some of my more entertaining reviews.  Sadly, this particular flick becomes such a charmless chore to endure that it only inspires a desire to belch out basic blather, which at least stays in step with the movie¡¯s M.O.

I¡¯ll keep this review short and simple.  Partly because ¡°The Rake¡± is short and simple too.  More so because it¡¯s in everyone¡¯s best interests to move away from this forgettable flotsam as swiftly as possible.

Acting is as stiff as a board and as dry as Saharan sand.  Poor Shenae Grimes-Beech, top billed for name recognition despite having fewer minutes than any other principal performer, looks exceedingly annoyed by her boredom.  Perhaps she is merely miffed at how a road paved with starring roles in ¡°Degrassi¡± and ¡°90210¡± inexplicably led to a DTV detour in indie horror slums.

Any two lines from the script could be pulled to illustrate the dreadful dialogue. I¡¯ll choose, ¡°I¡¯m not ready for this.¡±  To which someone replies, ¡°who is really ready for anything in their life?¡±  All that¡¯s missing from this exchange is Phil Hartman narration and Jack Handey piping up with a punchline.

Only a coin could decide if the milky imagery or the distorted audio takes a bigger blow from awful editing.  Actors already have an impossible time getting into a rhythm with regard to line delivery.  Additional half-seconds spent on either side of awkward interactions exacerbate terrible timing.

Inconsistent ambient noise irritates the ears as an even greater distraction. Virtually every scene has audibly different background tones when cutting between close-ups during a conversation.  Either someone in the sound department overlooked an entry-level responsibility, or maybe distant crickets only happen to chirp whenever one of two people speaks.

Gore gets suitably gruesome when The Rake finally shows up, although outside of occasional visions, its full-bodied appearance doesn¡¯t arrive until about twenty minutes remain in the runtime.  The hour building up to this underwhelming moment occupies itself with inconsequential chatter between characters fighting desperately to connect disjointed background bits into some semblance of a storyline.  Really though, ¡°The Rake¡± is little more than a long tease to one last letdown.  The movie concludes as it began: laughingly clueless about how to develop a supposedly scary story with substance.

Horror movies have been made more poorly than ¡°The Rake.¡±  But rarely do they come any more pointless.  I regret every second of the 80 minutes misspent watching this film.  Should your judgment lapse long enough that you opt to take this trivial trip too, you¡¯ll certainly sail on the same sea of shame.

Review Score:  15