26th Mar2016

VOD Vault #2 – Ratter / Hazard Jack

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to the second installment of VOD Vault, where we take a look at another bunch of direct-to-market releases, many of which hit iTunes and the supermarket shelves without fanfare, walking you – our readers – down the fine line between spending your money wisely, or throwing it away on another slice of DTV dross. Up this week are Ratter, and Hazard Jack

RATTER

ratter

Stars: Ashley Benson, Matt McGorry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Alex Cranmer, Michael William Freeman, Kaili Vernoff | Directed by Branden Kramer

Starring Ashley Benson and Matt McGorry, Ratter is the latest in an ever-increasing list of techno-horrors focusing on modern technology being used a tool for evil… The film tells the story of New York graduate Emma (Benson), who is excited about finally getting her own place in the city despite her parents expressing their worry about her living on her own. However when Emma starts receiving weird text messages from an unknown number, her illusions of privacy are shattered and she discovers just how fragile our sense of security can be…

Found footage. A format that is so played out it has become something of a mark of what NOT to do in the horror genre. But to take the conceit and turn it on its head, telling a story ENTIRELY from the literal perspective from the very technology we depend on everyday – the camera in our smartphone, the webcam built into our laptops, even the sensor bar of the Nintendo Wii(!) – actually refreshes the format. Especially given that its so well-engrained into the core plot of the movie, making the audience complicit in the stalking of Emma and adding extra depth to a well-worn trope.

Such a shame then that Ratter is so dull. I get that the audience is meant to be stalking our lead character but after seeing the umpteenth shot taken from inside Emma’s handbag, of nothing more thna her hands on the straps, I could do nothing but wish for the end to come… If there was a bit more excitement, a bit more drama, and less of the mundanity of Emma’s life – even if than means stretching believeability a little – then Ratter could have been an intriuging new addtion to the ever-growing techno-thriller genre. As it is now, I’d stick with re-watching The Den

Ratter is available on VOD now, the film comes to DVD on March 28th.

HAZARD JACK

hazard-jack-screen

Stars: Amanda Maddox, Alison Lani, Kevin James Sporman, Macauley Gray, Jason O’Neil Hudson | Directed by David Worth

When a group of college friends decide to get together for a weekend of drinking and war games they go to an old disused hospital. What they dont realize is that the hospital is now home to a disfigured war veteran struggling to cope with his injuries. He has turned the hospital into his own personal torture chamber and the college kids have unwittingly checked themselves in.

When I was a teenager the name David Worth was enough to get me totally excited for a movie. After all, this was the guy that directed Kickboxer and a handful of Cynthia Rothrock fight-flicks! But that was the early 90s and today all those DTV directors careers seem to have gone south. And Worth’s is no different, having gone from DTV stalwarts such as Michael Dudikoff’s Chain of Command and Cynthia Rothrock’s Lady Dragon 1 & 2; to bargain bin fillers like Shark Attack 2 & 3. In fact, until his two directorial forays in 2014 (including this one) Worth hasn’t helmed a film since 2006 – which is easily the biggest shame!

Sadly Hazard Jack isn’t going to set the world alight and resurrect Worth’s career. Though for fans of cheesy and sleazy slasher movies that are modelled exactly like the glut of cash-in slasher movies that filled up video stores in the 80s, the film does offer up a slice (and dice) of horror nostalgia. There are hints of The Burning, modern slasher Sweatshop and even Don’t Go In the House woven into the films slim plot – which is pretty much your standard “have sex and die” tale packed with blowjob giving bimbos!

Hazard Jack is out now on VOD, the film comes to DVD on March 28th.
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So, another VOD Vault, another disappointment – with both films this week falling short. Maybe some of this weeks other releases, including Prey and 3-Headed Shark Attack will win me over? Check out my individual reviews of those to find out!

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