Monday, December 9, 2019

He Sees You When You're Googling

Welcome to another installment of Pretty Little Liars in horror movies! This time, it's the best of the liars, both in terms of character (sassy Hannah Merrin) and actress (the genuinely talented and charismatic Ashley Benson). 

Quick Plot: Emma is a shockingly pleasant economics grad student who has just moved to a fairly spacious 1-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn while she finishes her education at NYU. Having just ended a tumultuous relationship, she's a little hesitant to jump into the dating pool again, even when nice guy Mike throws her some pickup lines about cheese. 

Eventually, Emma settles in comfortably to her new life. She makes a good friend with fellow student Nicole, takes things slow with Mike, and reconnects with her parents over video chatting. 

Unfortunately, we as the audience know this because someone has been hacking all of Emma's electronic devices and spying on her from within (sort of, you know, like Pretty Little Liars). Little by little, Emma begins to realize that something is wrong, leading to such a sad state of justified insecurity that she becomes a genuinely different person than before. 

Written and directed by Branden Kramer, Ratter is a simple story that understands the horrors of being the object of obsession. We don't need grand stalking sequences or brutal torture when we have all the fear we need in Emma's eyes and the cracks in her voice as she finally tells her sweet but so-far-away parents.

You could certainly look at Ratter as a partner to the much crueler The Den. Both tell very similar tales in the same "somebody's watching you" style and rely on their strong lead actresses. Both are (mild spoiler alert) ultimately very heartbreaking because of their leads' performances. I suppose I'm satisfied with having seen both explore this in an effective way, but it doesn't mean i need to experience it again.

High Points
Playing natural to what essentially amounts to a found footage format is harder than it might seem (witness the performances in the majority of the genre), and Ashley Benson is so perfectly natural and likable in the role that it makes Ratter all the more tragic

Low Points
Aforementioned tragedy

Lessons Learned
Wisconsin is more than just cheese (though that remains the easiest talking point)

Antivirus software remains as ineffective in 2016 as it was in the '90s

Seriously, stopping in the middle of a crowded street in Manhattan is no joke

Google Image Search of the Day
The beauty of the word "ratter" is that it also applies to an adorable breed of dog, leaving most of my computer monitor populated by cute but sad Ashley Benson and cute and usually happy these:

On one hand, Ratter is a very well-made and effective thriller. On the other, it's just so damn sad to watch. Take that as a cautious recommendation. 

No comments:

Post a Comment