The Rake – Directed by Tony Wash, and released on June 5th 2018 is an 80 minutes long indie psychological thriller & slasher horror movie that shows the creepy pasta creature ‘The Rake’ come to life as the childhood trauma and fear of the creature changes the lives of siblings- Ben and Ashley on a fateful night of a friendly get together with their friends in the woods. This review provides context and analysis without spoilers so watching the movie after reading this review would make it more enjoyable and help you to have an informed perspective on the movie. Production companies that produced the movie are:- Red Band Films, Scotchworthy Productions , The Line Film Company, & York Films
A brief outline of the plot without spoilers:
The movie starts off with the happy setting of Winter Holidays and the Christmas tree. We see two siblings- Ben and Ashley with their parents. The dad is investigating a case of a patient who’s obsessed with the creepy pasta creature, ‘The Rake’. Ben accidentally sees his dad working on the case and also looks at the sketches of the Rake. The parents get worried about Ben, as it seems that the Rake is a contagious spirit. Anyone exposed to the very idea of its existence, starts self harm and then in extreme cases, tries to harm others too. Some horrible things happen in that night and we get fast forwarded to the time when both- Ben and Ashley are grown up.
We see a different couple- Andrew and Nicole. They are supporting Ben and Ashley to fight their childhood trauma and lead a normal life. So, at their new house in the forest, they’re hosting a get together for all of their friends- including Ben and Ashley.
Ashley still sees the Rake and has her own regrets in her life while Ben takes medication and is in a better state than Ashley. While Nicole is trying to be understanding and tolerant of Ashley’s sad and depressed mood, Nicole’s husband, Andrew is not fine with Ashley making Nicole feel sad and worried too. Is the Rake real or is Ashley’s mind playing games? Can they all survive the night without becoming a prey of the Rake or fighting each other because of Ashley?
The mystery of the Rake:
The movie is based on the actual Rake creepy pasta (A popular horror story shared on the Internet). There is a mention of the Rake being a Native American legend, so something similar to Wendigo or a different version of the Rake is seen. The Rake of the movie differs from the actual legend in terms of the looks as the movie Rake has a claw as right hand and a dagger/hook as the left hand. The Rake gets summoned whenever someone thinks of it or has someone else who thinks of it. While the movie isn’t an origin story of the Rake, it explores the scary methods of the Rake’s killings.
The Rake sketches by Jacob Murphy & the Rake from the movie:-
The Rake image from the creepy pasta page:-
The psychological horror and a medical case to study:
The director, Mr Tony Wash has created a brilliant puzzle for the attentive and analytical audience. The reason we can say that The Rake movie is based on the actual ‘the Rake’ legend because the movie is not just about the Rake and how it summons itself, or possesses and kills people but also about how obsession of a fictional creature made the patient, ‘Jacob Murphy’ become a delusional killer. Besides being a horror movie, this movie is also about how an obsession of a thing, or the fear of a creature or a person, can make the mind of a person unstable- which could be ‘the infection’ mentioned in the movie. If you consider supernatural aspect, it can also be an example of how a person’s fear and negative emotions can feed a demon and an entity like the Rake, thus, the demon ‘infecting’ the mind & body of humans to do its evil deeds. This philosophy is similar to what we’ve seen in the Conjuring Universe movies. The psychological aspects of hallucinations, dementia and horrific flashbacks are similar to the Silent Hill movie, Amnesia Games and Dead Space 2’s Isaac Clarke.
A big dose of Slasher horror near the end:
The movie has very intense slasher horror sequences near the end, which are similar to Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The majority of the movie explores the psychological aspects, scary sightings, human relations and drama, which is not a bad thing but those who only want to see a pure hack & slash horror will have to wait till the get together is almost over. If slasher parts were scattered throughout the movie, the movie would have been more horrifying to watch but I guess it would have affected the pacing and made it look cheap or fake..
The cast and crew of the Rake 2018 did a good job of creating a movie that feels like a quality product. The camera and sound quality is good and the music by Tim Montijo is great, with some iconic songs being played relevant to scenes. Joey Cipriano as young Ben and Alexa Nasatir as young Ashley show ideal curious children and their fascination of horror stories. Their parents- Chris Amos as David and Izabella Miko as Cassie have performed well as parent worried about children and also, the horror stories affecting their children. Joe Mullen as Jacob is frightening during some scenes but some of his combat scenes felt a bit funny due to the body language but perhaps it was to show that the killer is ‘possessed’ by the Rake demon. Joey Bicicchi as Andrew is a romantic and often an angry hero trying to make sense of the things while protecting his wife. Rachel Melvin as Nicole‘s performance was very mature and strong, from start till the end. Shenae Grimes-Beech as the grown up Ashley has acted flawlessly in many shades of her performance- funny, depressed, scared, brave and friendly. Stephen Brodie as the grown up version of Ben reminds us of James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2 game. Darcy Wood as Michelle, who arrives to the get together with Ben has the most charismatic acting perfect for her scenes. Joe Nunez as Jeremy, who is Andrew’s friend reminded me of Mr. Jack Black because of his dialogue delivery and comic timings. Frederick Ford Beckley as the male Rake is scary and fierce. Samantha Nolte as the female rake is intimidating and creepy. Both the Rakes have perfect body language and the special effects, make-up, prosthetic, and the Rake suit helps to create one of the most horrifying and realistic monsters you will see in a movie.
The Rake 2018 is almost a perfect movie about obsession, fear and coming to life of horror stories we hear from the childhood. The movie has some remarkable performances along with genuinely creepy ending that will play with your mind. The movie should be watched by any horror fans if they want to explore the topic of the effect of creepy pasta or fictional horror stories if we take them too seriously or become obsessed with them.
The suspense is high and writing by Jeremy Silva and Tony Wash is good but if the movie had a character like Ben, Nicole or Ashley, doing some kind of narration through a diary like Alan Wake or the Conjuring 2 style audio tapes of Jacob Murphy we hear sometimes, it would have made a huge impact on the audience by helping them understand the plot more clearly.
The movie leaves much to our imagination and perhaps, that’s what the creator of this movie had in mind. We can weave our own story and theories once the movie ends. If you want something that will keep you thinking about possibilities or you want to enjoy a good slasher with psychological aspects, this movie is definitely worth a watch!
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Movie’s IMDb Page:- https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5226192/?ref_=tt_urv
Thank you so much for reading this!
Please listen to our interview with Tony Wash (Director, Writer, Producer)and Ben Lewandowski (Director, Editor) about behind the scenes stuff of The Rake (2018) and Skeletons In the Closest (2018). (May Contain Spoilers for The Rake 2018)-
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