Published on Monday, 30 May 2011 20:00
Written by Will
|Directed By||Eric Stanze|
|Written By||Eric Stanze, Jason Christ|
|Starring||Emily Haack, Jason Christ, Sarah Swofford, Alex Del Monacco, Ryan Bax, Joseph R. Engel, Amanda Pemberton, DJ Vivona|
|DVD Distributer||Wicked Pixel Cinema|
|MPAA Rating||Not Rated|
|By It Now On|
"Crystal, finish what I've started"
Anyone familiar with Wicked Pixel Cinema
should enjoy their latest offering, Ratline
. Directed by Eric Stanze, Ratline
is a natural progression of form for WPC. There is sex there is violence, decapitation, robbery, and Satanism all occurring in the first fifteen minutes. That isn't to say its just business as usual; on the contrary, Ratline
marks a turning point in the development of Wicked Pixel Cinema.
Showcasing maturity in both cast and crew, Ratline is a fully realized production. All of the pieces are here and have been put together with precision. Where earlier efforts were occasionally marred by spotty production value, Ratline is exceptionally well staged and executed. Featuring Stanze's above average cinematography and sharp editing, Ratline emerges as the studios best work to date.
I wasn't surprised and honestly would have been disappointed if Ratline
had failed to deliver. I say this because I have come to expect nothing less. I first became aware of Stanze and WPC
when I reviewed I Spit On Your Corpse, I Piss On Your Grave
, a cheap on the fly production, conceived and lensed for foreign investors. It lacked finesse and bordered on crass exploitation but I loved every second! Audacious, brutal and inspired, I Spit
was a rage fueled funhouse of sex and violence.
So is Ratline
, the difference however lies in Ratline
s unified professionalism. Across the board this group of filmmakers, in front and behind the camera, have improved and this is evident in every frame.
Star Emily Haack is "Crystal Brewer", she and half sister "Kim" (Alex Del Monacco) are on the run after being involved in a robbery and double homicide. Haack who has appeared in most of Wicked Pixels productions, once again takes center stage. Her character Crystal is a no nonsense hard ass doing her best to get herself and sister out of a bad place. On the run, the girls wind up in a small Midwestern town intending to hole up in a house they found on the net. Settling in with new housemate "Penny Webb" (Sarah Swofford) the girls begin to relax while deciding their next move, Crystal and Peggy find romance while Kim meets and gets to know "Frank Logan" (Jason Christ). As desire blooms between Crystal and Peggy, calmly creepy Frank becomes the dark catalyst of the horrors to come.
Incorporating many different elements, the screenplay by Stanze and Christ carefully weaves historical fact with horror fiction and tops it with a dose of hard boiled crime drama.
Set partially in the dark days of WW II, Ratline
exploits Hitler's obsession with the occult. Marrying fact to fiction Stanze tells a tale rich in history and bizarre enough to provide backstory that will culminate and still resonate almost seventy years later in present day America.
In addition to solid scripting and camerawork, Ratline also boasts excellent performances from its three leads, Haack, Christ, and Swofford, as well as superior support work from Joseph R. Engel and Alex Del Monacco. All in all there isn't a single weak link in the cast. This uniformity pulls all the pieces together and provides glue that stiches past and present together.
Produced by Stanze, Christ and Jessie Seitz, Ratline sets a standard other micro studios need to be aware of, if WPC can accomplish quality of this caliber the bar has been set, it is up to you to compete. Let Ratline be a gauge others may look to for example.