Horrortoberfest ’20 Day 26 – The Rake (2018)

 

The Rake is a modern monster creation that stemmed from a 4chan thread about creating new monsters in much the same way that Slenderman came out of a Something Awful thread of the same type. The Rake was supposed to be, much like Slenderman, a monster that is more about stalking and watching than directly murdering. It would whisper to its victims and constantly appear near them, watching them as they sleep, and driving them mad. Note that none of that made its way into this movie.

When Ben and Ashley were children, they saw their parents killed by a madman that then killed himself in front of them. In that weren’t enough, they also swear that there was something else there that night. Now grown up, they are visiting their adoptive sister, Nicole, when Ashley begins to lose control. Is her behavior a symptom of past trauma that hasn’t been overcome or is she infected by the Rake, a malicious murder entity that craves death? Either way, people are dying and there seems to be no stopping it.

This movie is extremely confused on what it wants to be and also pretty confused on the actual monster that it is trying to base this on. It treats the Rake as an infection that makes you need to appease it through either self-mutilation or killing other people. Though even that might not be right. Honestly, they took a pretty straightforward creepypasta monster and blurred it to the point where the movie isn’t even sure if it’s some kind of infection, haunting entity, possessing demon, or metaphor for trauma. It’s just a confused mess of a movie with no unified concept that it presents to the audience. Also just a pet peeve is that they only show the Rake standing up but it is supposed to be constantly moving on all fours.

The non-sibling characters are all very clearly just there to be killed as they just fill those horror tropes for “it’s ok if this person dies.” We have the asshole husband, the overbearing wife, the drunken manchild. The characters of Ashley and Ben are at least somewhat nuanced but the film’s lack of focus for what the monster should be also hurts the characters. The actions and performance of the characters ends up being just as inscrutable as the creature. As far as the effects go, the blood and guts are done well but Rake itself varies between looking kind of scary and looking like a rubber monster suit from Spirit Halloween. This is especially bad when it just focuses on the hand in a few parts where it is clearly just floppy costume rubber.

I’m not really sure who this is supposed to be appealing to. The Rake doesn’t have the wide appeal that traditional monsters like a werewolf have so it’s mostly supposed to appeal to the terminally online, like me. But then they don’t even remotely base it on the lore that exists so anyone that knows what the Rake is is going to be unsatisfied, like me.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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