Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Tony Wash's The Rake

Cody is surprised by a horror film starring Shenae Grimes-Beech.

The less you know about director Tony Wash's film The Rake, the more effective it's going to be for you - and I would recommend not even paying attention to the DVD cover art before watching the movie. Go into this one having no idea what might be in store for you.

That's how it was for me. All I knew before watching the movie was that Wash directed it, Shenae Grimes-Beech had a starring role in it, and it was a horror movie. I didn't know what type of horror movie it was, and had no clue why it would be called The Rake, but I was guessing it wasn't actually a reference to the lawn care / gardening tool.

I'm not going to delve too far into spoilers, but I will discuss the story and characters a bit.

The film begins at Christmastime in the '90s, when young kids Ashley and Ben witness the murder of their parents at the hands of one of their psychiatrist father's patients, a man who believed he was infected with an evil entity. This man then killed himself in front of the kids.

Jump ahead a couple decades and Ashley (Grimes-Beech) is, understandably, still deeply troubled by those events. Fresh from a stay in a psych ward, Ashley drops in on her adoptive sister Nicole (Rachel Melvin) and her husband Andrew (Joey Bicicchi)... and it isn't long before we realize that Ashley still isn't ready to be out in the world without medical supervision. So we start to wonder - is she going to snap and follow in the killer's footsteps? Ben (Stephen Brodie) is also hanging around, so maybe Ashley's more obvious troubles are a fake-out and he will be the one who gives in to insanity. Then again, Andrew is an irrationally angry douchebag when faced with Ashley's issues, so maybe he's the one to keep an eye on.

What eventually happens in Nicole and Andrew's home totally threw me for a loop.

The movie takes its time building up to that, though. Written by Wash and Jeremy Silva, The Rake feels like a drama for most of its running time, and the cast proves to be quite capable of handling the dramatic material. I was especially impressed by Grimes-Beech, as this was basically my first time really getting to watch her act. I know she was on the 90210 reboot, but the only thing she has been in that I've watched was the opening sequence of Scream 4, and that went by quick. Now I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work.

This was a dark and twisted tale that had me guessing for the better part of an hour before it descended into total madness. I was a bit disappointed when it reached an abrupt ending, but it was worth taking the ride up to that point.

The Rake is available on DVD, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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