The Ranger follows a group of punk rockers that go on the run after a clash with the police the night before. They go to the abandoned family home of one of the fellow punk rockers out in the woods at the base of a mountain. When the mysterious and disturbed park ranger arrives, chaos ensues, and he just may have a bit of history with one of the punks.
The Ranger Review
As traditional as they come in concept, The Ranger offers little in terms of originality or cinematic prowess, but is an enjoyable time nonetheless. Using campy slasher standards, the crew of punk teens are dispatched one by one as a means of moral balancing from their earlier civil disobedience. It's a basic tale.
There's little to be said about the film beyond its basic script, weak acting, yet entertainingly paced story. I did find the monologues of our killer, centered on sadistic one-liners punned around his craft as a park ranger, to be some of the best akin to Freddy's black comedy drops as he dispatched sleeping teens of his own. It got to the point that I found myself grinning and chuckling every time he stepped on screen.
It takes a while to warm up to him though, as his awkward, unsettling smirk feels less scary and more goofy. And I'd sooner see the punk rockers be taken out for their egregious acting chops than for their almost-equally annoying behavior. But still, the movie finds a way to get you through and you can enjoy it for what it is.
The Ranger never attempts to be anything more than a low-budget slasher homage, and it's that established expectation that makes it take the step from bearable to amusing. One of the best things about horror is you can be unimpressed with a film and yet be satisfied enough to let it run its course. This film rides that line successfully from beginning to end.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 4/10