Film Review: THE RAKING (2017)

CreepyPasta, for those unfamiliar with it, is an internet collection of horror stories usually told in the form of an urban legend. One of the most popular of these was that of The Rake, a demonic creature with long sharp claws from which it got it’s name. Bryan Brewer, (director, co-writer and star), tapped into this for his film THE RAKING, (you thought it was about a homicidal gardener didn’t you?) an endearingly old school monster movie.

A quarreling couple get their car stuck on a dirt road at night. An unseen something in the darkness kills them both but their young son is spared. From there we flash forward to the present where a group from the local community college is organizing a trip to the desert to look into tales of a creature that lives there. The professor Ethan (Bryan Brewer), his TA, who’s letting him have her T&A, Kennedy (Cree Kelly AFTERMATH), Kelly (Allie Rivera CHRISTMAS WITH COOKIE) who does not get along with Kennedy, Noah (Thatcher Robinson THE TOY SOLDIERS) and an unplanned tag along in the form of Jade’s sister Kelly (Marisa Davila). After being attacked by the creature which drags Kelly off they’re rescued by James (Marshal Hilton THE BUNNYMAN MASSACRE) who previously warned them to stay out of the desert. Now, holed up in his house they have to survive till morning, but when the lights go out, that becomes a much harder task.

Thankfully avoiding two common problems with films like this, found footage and CGI, THE RAKING features practical effects and a very effective creature designed by Face/Off Season 4 contestant Eric Fox and brought to life by Alan Maxson. Nocturnal and extremely fast it’s only seen in glimpses, most notably when caught on video.  When we finally do get a good look it is a pale, menacing thing with teeth and claws I wouldn’t want to get near. It’s not an exact copy of it’s inspiration, but it’s close enough for nightmares.

The film does have a few issues, it’s a bit slow in getting out to the desert, and the characters can get annoying. But once the creature makes itself known the film picks up delivers the goods. Think of it as one of those 70’s – 80’s creature films you used to see on TV, but with some added gore. Not a lot of gore, it’s not quite NIGHT OF THE DEMON but it’s certainly got more than your local station’s Creature Feature would ever air which is fitting since most people who watch this will probably see it streaming via VOD.

THE RAKING will be released March 7th by Brain Damage Films and Midnight Releasing.

Trailer

Author: Jim Morazzini

A horror fan since childhood, Jim loves all manner of horror, science fiction, fantasy and general exploitation. Writer of reviews, aspiring film maker, gym rat, and tattoo aficionado. Currently stranded on the Canadian prairie where there's nothing else to do but consume horror and beer in large quantities.

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