Next up on my review plate was the latest (and greatest) feature film from Eddie Lengyel known as The Curse of Lilith Ratchet. I reviewed another Lengyel film back in September Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride and at the time I felt Slay Ride was his best looking flick. Well, that’s only because I hadn’t seen Ratchet yet. This takes the cake in that department as it looks phenomenal. This may be a ‘low budget’ indie film but it certainly doesn’t look or feel that way.
The film has been officially titled American Poltergeist: The Curse of Lilith Ratchet as it is the next installment in the popular “American Poltergeist” series, which is currently available on Netflix.
SPOILER ALERT: This review will talk openly about some plot points of the film. I’ll try not to ruin any major surprises but if you want to be totally spoiler free skip this until you’ve watched the film.
The Curse of Lilith Ratchet Synopsis
Alice and her best friend Lauren inadvertently set a hellish curse in motion after surprisingly acquiring a mysterious shrunken head. Wanting to know more about their fiendish find, they pay a visit to a popular paranormal podcast host Hunter Perry of “Beyond the Veil”. Hunter discovers it’s true authenticity of the ages-old object and in hopes of creating a rating boost, he plans a LIVE podcast in which the tale of the shrunken head will be introduced to the masses. Little do they know by playing the game and calling her name they will release the malevolent demonic spirit of Lilith Ratchet.
Plot & Thoughts
We start right out of the gate here introducing the namesake of the film Lilith Ratchet. We’re less than two minutes in and we’ve already got our first couple of kills. With a character like this that I don’t know the backstory I appreciate them jumping right in rather than giving me an hour of exposition or not even seeing the character. What little screen time she has as Lilith, Crissy Kolarik does an outstanding job. Ms. Ratchet is a character that has a cool backstory and Kolarik brings her to life (death?) really well. She’s got the menace of old school Freddy Krueger (before the jokes kicked in for the sequels) combined with the slow stalking of Michael Myers.
While there are some horror tropes at play here they’re not overdone. In fact, there’s one jump scare in here that was so good I stopped watching the film and messaged Eddie the moment it happened. Speaking of Eddie I have to give him props here. I’ve already said how good I think the film look but the direction and story are on point as well. I’ve seen nearly all of his films now and it’s really sort of cool to see how he’s developing as a film maker. This one is definitely one to be proud of.
While there’s a lot of great things going on here I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a few low points. I’ve always been a big fan of the blood and gore that Eddie puts in his films. And while there’s certainly a fair amount of kills here it feels like violence has been dialed back from the previous efforts like Slay Ride and specifically Scarred. It doesn’t take away from this film but if you’re familiar with Lengyel’s other work I’m guessing you’ll miss it too.
There were a couple of times when I sort of shook my head at a line of dialogue or how a character reacted (or didn’t react) to a situation. That said, those times really were overshadowed by some out of the blue kills, some great jump scares and a simple story that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. Hell, I was actually super invested in a couple of the characters to the point where I was really bummed when they bit the dust. That’s good storytelling and character development.
I hate calling out specific cast members because I know how much work goes into a feature and I feel bad for not recognizing everyone. That said, I’ve got to give specific props to a few.
- I’ve already mentioned Kolarik’s portrayal of Ratchet. Spot on.
- KateLynn E. Newberry as Alice (a nod to Elm Street Alice?) was great. She gets a lot thrown at her here and manages to carry it to the very end.
- Rob Jaeger as Hunter Perry and Angela Cole as Bree. I mention them together as they play a couple in the film. Jaeger’s Perry is the perfect mix of podcasting douchebag and pretty boy ghost hunter. Cole (in addition to being beautiful) plays the strong girlfriend who’s sick of getting the shaft to perfection.
- Roger Conners – I’d only ever seen him in Slay Ride. The fact that he can pull of such DRASTICALLY different characters speaks to this guy’s acting chops. I’ll leave it at that.
I’m going to copy and paste my Cleveland note from a previous review cause it’s still spot on:
I’d be remiss to not point out the Cleveland connection here. I’m a Cleveland guy and it’s always nice to see my home town represented in films I’m watching. I love the fact that Eddie features locations in and around the Cleveland area. While I always support indie filmmakers I’ll always go out of my way to support the CLE!
The Curse of Lilith Ratchet is Eddie Lengyel’s best film to date. It may not be as bloody as some of his previous work but it makes up for that with good direction, atmosphere, location and casting. The cast here is far better than you’d expect in an indie film and the character of Lilith Ratchet has a backstory and an on screen presence that screams for a sequel.
If you’re in the Cleveland area The Curse of Lilith Ratchet will screen again at an Encore Presentation of The Curse of Lilith Ratchet on October 28th in Euclid, Ohio. Go see it folks… you’ll be glad you did.
You can find more information about The Curse of Lilith Ratchet at the following links:
Special thanks to Eddie Lengyel for giving me access to his film.
Have you seenThe Curse of Lilith Ratchet? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!