14th Oct2019

Pass Horror Notes: ‘The Curse of Lilith Ratchet’ Review

by Aaron Shakespeare

pass-horror-notes

THE CURSE OF LILITH RATCHET

Stars: KateLynn E. Newberry, Rob Jaeger, Roger Conners, Angela Cole, Brianna Burke, George Tutie, Crissy Kolarik, Layla Cushman, Lauren Paulis, D.J. Remark, Debbie Scaletta, Ann Shamess | Written and Directed by Eddie Lengyel

Name: The Curse Of Lilith Ratchet (aka American Poltergeist: The Curse Of Lilith Ratchet)
Age: 2019

Appearance: A slick-looking ghostly slasher film with all the production values of a Hallmark film. Not much blood or atmosphere but plenty of hysterical acting and a villain that looks like a cross between the Woman in Black and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Lilith Ratchet. Don't lose your head!

Lilith Ratchet. Don’t lose your head!

Alright guv’nor. ‘Ow’s it going?

Why are you speaking like that? And what’s with the flat cap and chimney brush.

It’s the Curse of Lilith Ratchet, innit geezer? That’s the name of a Dickensian cockerneeee villain, if ever I ‘eard one.

She’s nothing of the sort. Lilith Ratchet (a gloomy looking Crissy Kolarik) is a poor woman who had her head chopped off after her heart turned black when her husband had an affair with a baker.

She’s not a cockney villain from a Dickens book?

No.

I dressed up like a chimney sweep for nothing then.

I’m afraid so.

Sigh… So, what’s Lilith’s beef?

Well, after she had her head chopped off, it was shrunk down and put in a box with a little nursery rhyme usefully explaining the curse. Basically, if you pass her head around and repeat her name then whoever is left with the head is cursed to die at the hands of Ratchet. Of course, a group of young college hipsters do just that and Lilith kills each of them, one by one.

Cor blimey. Them geezers never learn.

You can stop now.

I mean, they read the nursery rhyme and still did it anyway?

Of course. Otherwise it would have been a very short film. And to be honest, at one hour and forty-five minutes, it could have done with being a little shorter.

Why is it so long?

The dialogue is very exposition heavy and when they are not explaining the plot over and over again, they are either screaming at each other as to how scared they are or worrying that they are next to die. After we get a prologue where Lilith kills two unnamed women, we are introduced to Hunter Perry (played by a tall haired Rob Jaegera), a podcaster who presents a show about the paranormal. He purchases the shrunken head off of the college hipsters with the intention of using it at a Halloween party.

I love Halloween parties with that apple bobbing game but I’ve never played with a decapitated head before.

Hunter describes the game as a mix of hot potato and musical chairs with those at the party getting a free Hunter Perry T-shirt. However, I thought it was more like a morbid version of Pass the parcel where you pitch a severed head about and chant, “Lillith Ratchet took a hatchet and gave her lover a head… in a basket. Play the game and call her name and one by one you’ll feel her pain.” Unbeknownst to Hunter, various characters become marked for death, including his girlfriend, Bree (Angela Cole).

But they still get a free T-shirt. So not all bad.

Although it was competently directed, the film lacks any style or atmosphere and some of the characters seem rather lifeless and wooden. It felt as if all involved were simply going through the motions. Instead of screaming and crying in fear, characters gasp and wheeze as if they had just stubbed a toe. One amusing scene features a girl screaming “no no no” at hearing about the death of her friend, sounding more like she’s throwing a tantrum in a supermarket rather being shocked and scared. She then returns to behaving as if her friend had never died.

Sounds like a drinking game is in order. Take a drink whenever you see a Stock Acting Method being used.

And there are plenty of them. You get a lot of hysterical screaming and shouting “nooooo!”, “Oh my God. She/he’s dead!” Plenty of miserable characters looking at the ground and shaking their heads, crying and hugging themselves and plunging their hands into their pockets. If you added in taking a drink whenever a jump scare occurs such as the ghost appearing in the mirror/window/doorway/bathroom/car, then you’d probably end up with a shrunken head yourself.

What about the horror bits. That’s why we’re here after all.

Most of it happens off screen with the occasional blood spurt against the wall. There are a couple of flourishes, which might please some horror fans but you have to slog through a lot of pointless moments just to get to some horror fun. I mean, there was one long scene where Hunter’s mum turns up to make a drink and tell him that his show isn’t very good. What was the point of that? And why did we have to sit through watching her mess about with bottles and pouring drinks. No wonder the film clocks in at nearly two hours.

Ok, but what about the story itself? It can’t all just be ghost kills hipsters.

Aside of the listless dialogue and acting, there is actually a nice story rolling underneath. The curse, although somewhat devoid of logic, makes for some suspenseful plotting and I wish they had elaborated on the ghosts of their dead friends coming to warn them or Hunter Perry’s clairvoyant aunt seemingly possessed by Ratchet. Instead we get scenes of a woman making a drink or Bree arguing with her sister about who’s bra she is wearing.

I have a lot of questions but what I really want to know is, whose bra was Bree really wearing?

Lilith Ratchet’s.

No wonder she was pissed.
______

Do say: Gotta catch-et Lilith Ratchet.
Don’t say: Lilith Retch-it

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