April 17, 2018
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Cracked: THE RANGER “A Park Safety PSA Turned Into A Horror Movie”

You know those hokey old low-budget after-school specials in which Smokey Bear told you that only you could prevent forest fires — which was technically true, if only in the sense that you had no intention of ever stepping foot in a forest? Well, what if you watched a bunch of those in a row while having a bad acid trip? The director and co-writer of The Ranger admitted to being inspired by the former, and we can only assume that the latter was involved as well.

Read Full Article HERE

 

April 4, 2018
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THE RANGER review round-up!

 “a film that has a lot of affection for both the punk community and the history of horror
and wants to be a new entry into both those worlds.”
Rue Morgue

“an off-beat and exciting new icon of horror.”
Pajiba

“Levine and Holm anchor the film, bringing a sort of
anti-chemistry that is terrific fun to behold.”
Daily Grindhouse

“Nostalgia done right.”
Ghastly Grinning

“I absolutely enjoyed this move. Each character’s unique attitudes and personalities making me love
and hate them all at the same time. Not just with the writing, but the cast was great
and were all believable in their roles.”
– Nightmarish Conjurings

March 30, 2018
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Front Row Boston: How Boston’s Punk Scene Influenced Horror Film THE RANGER

A group of teens sit at a table in a graffiti covered club that throbs with music. They experiment with drugs, crash onto the dance floor, and party with the free joy of their youth – until the cops come crashing in. In short order, things go from bad to worse as they attack an officer, steal a van, and hide out in a closed-down state park… only to end up in the crosshairs of an unhinged park ranger. At its core, The Ranger is a film about the clash between self-expression and conformity, of self-determination vs. oppressive authority. About finding yourself in a world that tries to tell you how you should be. Currently making its way through the festival circuit – including this past weekend at our own Boston Underground Film Festival – The Ranger‘s message is loud and clear, not only in plot, but in the blindingly pure punk aesthetic of its wicked cool wardrobe and solid soundtrack.

Read the entire interview HERE

 

March 28, 2018
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The Ranger SOLD OUT in NYC!

Jenn Wexler’s THE RANGER sold out at the IFC Center in NYC!

March 19, 2018
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Bloody Disgusting: ‘The Ranger’ Is An Unabashedly Punk Slasher Throwback

From Bloody Disgusting by: Justin Yandell

The Ranger, is – on its surface – a vibrant, vicious throwback to 80’s slashers with a unique visual flair. This is like saying punk subculture is – on its surface – people in leather jackets with a lot of piercings and even more product in their radically dyed hair. It’s an easy label to slap on something that is actively and enthusiastically doing its level best to kick your labels in the face.

The hook on Jenn Wexler’s feature directorial debut is baited well. A handful of teenage punk fugitives flee to a cabin in the woods only to run head-long into a malevolently dedicated park ranger. The line between these kids, who have near-zero regard for anyone in a pressed uniform, and the titular Ranger, a stickler for the rules to the point of gratuitous bloodshed, could not be drawn any clearer.

Working from a script by Giaco Furino and herself, Wexler directs with one of the most interesting eyes I’ve seen in a minute or two, using camerawork, color and pacing to exaggerate the clash between conflicting worlds of chaos and order. This is greatly assisted by Abbey Killheffer, who at times gleefully edits the film like a small child with a straight razor. I mean this in the nicest possible way. Portions of the movie are cut with the rhythm of a punk rock anthem, and it pairs well with the subject matter and soundtrack.

Leading the cast is Chloe Levine, who, with recent turns on Mr. Robot and The Defenders, is deservedly well on her way to going places. Her role as Chelsea is meaty, with plenty of nuances provided in the form of an appreciation for common courtesies her uber-rebellious brethren don’t share. This makes her something of an outcast among outcasts and that’s an enjoyable dynamic to watch.

Jeremy Holm plays The Ranger with a cheerful and meticulous maliciousness reminiscent of Dan Stevens in The Guest, though much of David’s creep factor was embedded in the prospect of such a person being mistakenly invited into your home. The Ranger’s eeriness is instead intertwined with the specter of indifferent, jackbooted authoritarianism violently intruding on your space. In either case, there’s something chilling about a man ending you with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.

The rest of the cast is rounded out with a semi-traditional slasher line-up of People Born to Die. Granit Lahu as Garth, Bubba Weiler as Abe, Jeremy Pope as Jerk, and Amanda Grace Benitez as Amber all range from intentionally unlikeable to genuinely sympathetic as needed, but their individual arcs aren’t as important as what they collectively represent; braggadocious babes-in-the-woods who have spitefully bitten the Powers-That-Be only to discover the Powers-That-Be have sharper teeth.

I readily admit I’m, at best, a tourist of punk subculture. I greatly appreciate the general aesthetic, but I don’t live there. That said, it’s impossible to discuss The Ranger in any meaningful way without also talking about the core ideologies of the punk movement.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the brilliant satire of punk mentality we saw in Return of the Living Dead. Suicide’s hilarious declaration that his attire is “a way of life,” while technically accurate, was a send-up of aggressively defiant counterculture for its own sake, though Wexler does play with that here as well. Chelsea’s too-punk-to-function cohorts revel in casual littering as a sneering finger to The Man, flaunting how little they care so exuberantly they often swing all the way back to walking, talking tropes. They grasp the general idea of punk as counterculture and benefit from its facilitation of familial bonding among the disenfranchised, but they’re also kind of missing the point. In fact, this theme of sheep-in-wolves’ clothing bleating futilely at the moon penetrates the movie to a point that would venture sharply into the realm of spoilers. (There will come a day; I’m not done with you by half, The Ranger)

The spirit of punk and what that means undoubtedly varies wildly from end of the subculture to the other, but to my understanding, it’s the idea of self-empowerment through the total embracement of a personal identity that some people – maybe most people – may not be willing to accept. And where the movie itself is concerned, I think a prime example of this is a homosexual relationship that, for once, is allowed to simply exist. Nobody points at it. It’s not haphazardly exposited in clumsy dialogue or a point of contention. It just is, without bravado or fanfare, with no need for explanation or apology. And when you look at the idea of punk through that lens, it becomes something everyone can relate to because everyone just wants to be allowed to exist in their own unique way. The real horror in The Ranger is the threat of a callous and stringent agent of arbitrary ‘normalcy’ extinguishing that unique existence simply because you’re not following ‘The Rules’.

While The Ranger is indeed a throwback to slashers of yore, Wexler doesn’t strictly adhere to ‘The Rules’ as established by her predecessors. The actual Slasher is not a traditional Slasher. The Final Girl is not a traditional Final Girl. Wexler’s very much doing her own thing here with a reckless regard for whether or not the viewer approves and heed my words, watching her continue to shed the trappings of tradition is going to be something to behold.

For many of the reasons listed above, and a few that would be a little too spoiler-specific, The Ranger isn’t going to be for everyone. But it’s not trying to be. At all. It’s an unapologetic movie fully confident in its own identity and central themes of self-acceptance and empowerment. This probably isn’t the correct nomenclature but, in that way, The Ranger is one of the most punk horror movies that has ever punked. It’s like a hot pink mohawk – if you’re not into it, it’s not meant for you anyway.

March 18, 2018
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That’s a Wrap on SXSW 2018

THE RANGER team headed down to Austin for its SXSW World Premiere! Check it out in pics here.

March 14, 2018
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Screen Anarchy: THE RANGER Is Silly, Sloppy, Slashy Punk Rock Fun In The Woods

There is a deep and undeniable connection between punk music and horror films that goes back decades. From the very beginning of the punk music movement in the ’70s, bands and fans used horror imagery to separate themselves from those around them. In my own personal journey of discovery as a budding horror fan, punk music played a pivotal part in connecting the dots between my internal raging anger and its obvious violent expression on film. All of this to say that I’ve always been surprised at how infrequently this seemingly indisputable relationship has been exploited on film.

Director Jenn Wexler’s debut feature, The Ranger, is the latest the a relatively small oeuvre of punk rock horror films, and it is one that takes the energy and explosive enthusiasm of the music and attempts to give it life on screen. It isn’t entirely successful in putting a new classic on the table for fans to adore, it’s definitely a heaping helping of bloody, obnoxious fun, and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for.

Punk rocker Chelsea (Chloe Levine) and her snotty punk pals get caught up in a police raid at a show and go on the run to avoid getting picked up with a huge quantity of a new party drug called “echo”. When one of the punks stabs a cop while saving Chelsea from certain doom, the crew decides it’s time to go underground and they head into the woods of upstate New York. Chelsea’s uncle had a cabin in the woods where they can hide, but these woods hold a lot of conflicting memories for her, and soon her past catches up with her in the form of a deranged ranger with an axe to grind. Literally.

The Ranger (Jeremy Holm, House of CardsMr. Robot) wants Chelsea all to himself, and will plow through her friends one-by-one to get to her. There’s a complicated history between the two involving Chelsea’s uncle, played silently by New York indie horror legend Larry Fessenden, and his unfortunate violent demise. She’s not having it, though, so The Ranger goes on a spree, dispatching her friends in predictably violent ways, all to a frenetic punk rock soundtrack.

In punk terms, The Ranger definitely share the same kind of energy as the early ’80s pre-hardcore music scene. A bit sloppy around the edges, the film at times trades enthusiasm for polish, resulting in a final product that is impossible to take seriously, but at the same time doesn’t ask that of its audience. The film’s characters, apart from Chelsea, are the kind of obnoxious cartoon punks that make normal folks uncomfortable, but the shallow characterizations reinforce the go-for-broke tone and allow the audience to identify more with Chelsea, though I would’ve loved to know her compatriots as more than just a bunch of irritating party kids.

I’ve stated publically on this site on more than one occasion that 1985 punk horror classic, The Return of the Living Dead, is my favorite film of all time, and while it’s perhaps unfair to compare two films, it’s also inevitable. The Ranger doesn’t reach those heights by any stretch, but it’s a competent, fun, bloody, and energetic addition to the canon of punk horror films that its creators can be proud of. A lot of my issues feel like the follies of an excitable first time director, but then again, they didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the film so I can still give it a solid recommendation for fans of low budget indie horror, and not that hi-falutin’ artsy fartsy stuff. This is a fun throwback with a killer soundtrack and enough solid kills in its 77 minutes (was that on purpose? if so, kudos) to sate spiky haired gorehounds everywhere.

From Screen Anarchy

March 9, 2018
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Entertainment Weekly: Check out the chilling poster for SXSW horror-thriller The Ranger

In director Jenn Wexler‘s SXSW-bound directorial debut The Ranger, a group of young punks get in trouble with the cops and flee the city. Fueled by an hallucinogenic drug called Echo, they hope to lay low in the woods, but the punks find themselves pitted against the local authority — an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.

“Jeremy Holm plays the ranger,” says Wexler. “He’s in Mr. Robot and House of Cards and he’s just f—ing awesome. I can’t wait for people to see him in this movie. Chloe Levine, who’s in The Defenders and The OA on Netflix, plays one of the punks named Chelsea. Then we have Amanda Grace Benitez, who’s in All Cheerleaders Die, and Bubba Weiler (The Good Fight), and Granit Lahu (The Sinner), and Jeremy Pope. It’s a great ensemble cast.”

Wexler co-wrote the script for The Ranger with an old friend, Giaco Furino.

“We went to college in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts and this was his, like, senior screenplay,” says Wexler. “I was always so obsessed with the idea of punks vs. a park ranger. I felt that was something that should already exist in the world! [Laughs] There should already be some ’80s movie about punks that go up against a park ranger. So, I always loved the concept, and then later, when I figured out how to make movies, I was like, ‘Yo, Giaco! Find that script and let’s make this!”

Although Wexler is a first-time director, she is certainly not lacking experience behind the camera, having recently produced Mickey Keating’s films Darling and Psychopaths, Robert Mockler’s Like Me, and Ana Ansensio’s Most Beautiful Island, which was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the recent Independent Spirit Awards. Wexler is currently performing the same role on Depraved, a reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein being made by indie-horror notable and The Ranger cast member, Larry Fessenden.

“We’re in the middle of shooting,” says Wexler. “I don’t want to speak too much to it, but everything about it looks awesome, including the monster, and I know Larry’s really excited to hop into the editing room.”

The Ranger will receive its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 12. More information about the film’s screening schedule can be found at the official SXSW website.

The Ranger is produced by Wexler, Fessenden, Andrew van den Houten, Ashleigh Snead, and Heather Buckley. The film is exec-produced by Darryl Gariglio, Giles Daoust, and Catherine Dumonceaux.

From EW

February 7, 2018
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THE RANGER to World Premiere at SXSW

Jenn Wexler’s THE RANGER, produced by Glass Eye Pix and Hood River Entertainment, to world premiere in the SXSW Midnighters section!

Teen punks, on the run from the cops and hiding out in the woods, come up against the local authority—an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.

Cast: Chloë Levine, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Bubba Weiler, Amanda Grace Benitez, Jeremy Holm, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Jenn Wexler. Written by Jenn Wexler & Giaco Furino. Produced by Andrew van den Houten, Larry Fessenden, Ashleigh Snead, Heather Buckley, and Jenn Wexler. Co-produced by Chris Skotchdopole. Edited by Jenn Wexler & Abbey Killheffer. Cinematography by James Siewert. 

Check it out at SXSW.com.

May 17, 2017
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Wexler’s RANGER wraps!

Jenn Wexler’s debut feature THE RANGER wraps principal photography
after 18 day shoot in NYC and the Hudson Valley.
Film heads directly into post-production. Stay tuned for more news.

Wexler on set. Photo by Jeremy Pope. A Glass Eye Pix / Hood River Entertainment production