Jenn Wexler isn’t looking to make a little bit of noise with her debut feature. The Ranger, a punk rock slasher in the truest sense, is loud, proud, and very violent. It screams for attention. The director, who also co-wrote the script, populates her cast with talented up-and-comers including The Transfiguration‘s Chloe Levine,and ensures they’re clad in the coolest and most authentic duds.
The flick has the classic slasher setup of a group of kids marooned in the middle of nowhere with a killer on the loose, but it has so much more to say about toxic relationships, how past trauma affects our adult lives, and the whole nature of identity. At the centre of it is Levine’s Chelsea, a cool but confused chick just looking to find her place in the world.
The Ranger is definitively a slasher movie made by a badass woman (with another producing it, the incomparable Heather Buckley) — which is virtually unheard of, even nowadays. There are no booby shots or characters trotted out to act as walking bags of meat. Wexler creates a group of kids who feel real, and for whom we can easily empathise. It’s like Green Room‘s bratty little sister.
The Frightfest synopsis for the flick promises carnage galore:
It’s the 1980s and a group of punks get busted selling drugs. Because a police officer gets fatally wounded in the showdown, Chelsea offers up her uncle’s cabin in a nearby national park as a hideout. There they cross paths with an officious ranger who has a weird connection to Chelsea’s past and will stop at nothing to enforce every single safety regulation even if it means resorting to the deadliest of means. Emulating slasher classics with sly élan and featuring a kick-ass punk soundtrack, Jenn Wexler’s debut feature is a post-modern splatter flick carrying the FrightFest seal of approval.
Directed and co-written by Jenn Wexler, The Ranger marks her feature debut. It stars Chloe Levine (The Transfiguration), Granit Lahu, Larry Fessenden (who also produced), and Jeremy Holm.
Also See: Chloe Levine and Granit Lahu Talk The Ranger
Wicked Horror caught up with Wexler to talk her barnstorming debut, women in horror, the importance of slasher movies, and lots more.
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Interview conducted by: Joey Keogh
Camera: Richard Waters
Editing: Richard Waters