June 8, 2018 The Rake (Movie Review)
For the person wondering what it would feel like to step on the wrong end of a rake has no need to ever wonder again. On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment unleashed The Rake onto DVD and Digital; a movie that will single-handedly bring the sting to the curious viewer sitting in front of a television set.
Almost every frame of The Rake will smack the viewer square in the face as the story of a supernatural force tormenting the lives of a brother and sister unfolds on the little screen. Some smacking may become self-induced, so it is important to tie each hand to a table leg before watching this movie.
When adult siblings Ben (Stephen Brodie: The Lone Ranger 2013, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich 2018) and Ashley (Shenae Grimes-Beech: Degrassi: The Next Generation series, Scream 4 2011) were younger, they had witnessed the murder of their parents at the hand of a crazed lunatic. Years later, after having been apart for so long, Ben and Ashley’s adoptive sister, Nicole (Rachel Melvin: Days of Our Lives series, Sleepy Hollow series) throws a housewarming get-together uniting this little family trio of sorts once again. Although, as Ashley begins seeing nasty, creepy images of a creature called “The Rake” lurking around in the shadows, and in her mind, she relies on her brother Ben to help rid this supernatural force, once and for all. Along for the ride, but very unhappy to see Ashley, is Nicole’s way-over-defensive husband, Andrew (Joey Bicicchi: Rudderless 2014, Vincent N Roxxy 2016), who has no problem telling Ashley just how much he hates to see her at his house.
Produced by Mike Dozier (Devil in My Ride 2013, Vincent N Roxxy 2016), co-written by Jeremy Silva (High on the Hog 2017, A Grave Promise 2012), along with Director and Co-Writer Tony Wash (It’s My Party And I’ll Die When I Want To 2007, The Muck 2014) they do a decent job spinning this version of a tale apparently based on an urban “creepypasta” legend found on the internet. As a director, Wash stirs the nerves of the viewer when The Rake delves into its scarier moments, and builds well the tension during some heated moments occurring between either character seen in the film. The cinematography is downright amazing. Harcore cinephiles will drool at every camera pan, cut, and angle providing the scenery for The Rake. The crew behind the cameras take on a life of their own as they skillfully bring out the vision Wash had originally intended. One particularly amazing scene is a walk into the basement with Ashley as she inspects a noise.
Unfortunately there will be times which can be compared to the painful aftermath of stepping on the metal-toothed end of a rake. Whenever one of the characters speaks his or her line, into the face comes the wooden handle, smacking the viewer stupid, who is then left to wallow in misery. The dialogue of The Rake is often painfully laugh-inducing from hearing such spoken interactions; a charm, however, that, believe it or not, awards the movie a “so terribly bad, it’s good” trophy, a factor that will make it become a party favorite for a group of friends looking for a fun time.
One character in question is Andrew, Nicole’s husband – an insensitive, mean sonuvabitch who spends half the movie berating and cursing at Ashley, even though he is fully aware of Ashley’s murdered parents, and of her troubled past. Show some sympathy Andrew. Jeez. The crap-kicker of it all is that a rhyme and reason for Andrew’s hateful, constant spewage exists nowhere within the story. The viewer will want to rise up to kick Andrew out of the movie altogether, but such a feat will be to no avail. This is partly due to how underdeveloped each character is, which could be blamed on the short running-time of The Rake. Another downfall is the atrocious final few gore moments of said running-time, which may leave the viewer severely beaten and bruised from the constant smacking of a now-splintered wooden handle of a certain garden tool after watching Nicole’s reaction to an overly-long, bloody reveal. In fact, it may cause side-splitting laughter.
The thing is that every time the butt-end of a rake lowers back to the ground, Wash reels the audience back in with the clever way he sets up the suspense found in a lot of the scenes in The Rake, a welcoming force gluing all eyes to the screen. During these scenes, the actors up their skills, portraying some of most realistic reactions to very scary situations. The special visual effects, and the sound effects helping to create such an air of suspense are the sweet candy to the eyes and ears, respectively. The greatest aspect of The Rake is how Wash chose to use practical special effects, rather than using the lazy and inhuman-feel of CGI. A result of this is one scary-looking monster, and some bloody-fun gore scenes.
Also featuring Izabella Miko (Coyote Ugly 2000, Deadwood 2005) as Cassie, while The Rake has many flaws, it is truly a very fun film to watch. There is enough hokey acting and absurd dialogue to satisfy those wanting to relive the olden day of “cheese”-filled films, and enough amazing SFX as well as incredible camerawork to fill the belly of the hungriest filmmaker. Wash has a wonderful vision for making a Horror film, and it would be great to see what he will make the next time around.
The Rake is a movie that inadvertently causes many belly laughs, has an enormous amount of horrific tension, and an amazing crew who had worked behind the scenes. A movie that is an almost nostalgic throwback to the early, fun-filled times of cheesey cinema of the ’80s, CrypticRock give it 3 stars out of 5.