The film begins with a state detective visiting a bandage covered patient in a hospital. So badly wounded, the bandages even cover her face. The patient begins to reveal how she got herself in such a condition, and we soon learn the woman’s name is Harper (Annabelle Dexter-Jones). Harper is a skilled photographer who enjoys taking snaps of nature and animals. But this time, while she was working in the woods, she heard the noise of a man in trouble.
As Harper investigates the disturbance in the woods, she discovers a man being brutally bashed and tortured with whips. Despite being scared for her life, she manages to take a couple of photos on her camera. When Harper attempts to run away and get help from the locals, she finds herself caught by the same men she just photographed. Harper is now forced to use her wits and survival skills to survive and hopefully get some sweet revenge on the men who wronged her.
From the film’s opening credits, there were grindhouse vibes that were welcome. The music alone gives the impression that this film will take its audience down a path of bloody revenge, warning me I’d better strap in for a ride. While the first act starts slower than expected, it certainly builds the right atmosphere. There is even a touch of mystery as to what on earth happened to this woman to end her up in a hospital bed covered in bandages.
For most of the film, it’s Harper fighting for her life as she takes out the bad guys one by one. In most cases for Harper, it’s a combination of skill and pure coincidence that she finds the right tool and uses it to take down an enemy. Annabelle Dexter-Jones as Harper is easily the best element in the film. She is quite convincing and confident right from the start. Performances from villains are certainly more over the top and less enjoyable when compared to the lead. Those keen to see actor Bruce Dern here will be highly disappointed as his time on screen is small, and the time it takes for him to show up is also lengthy. This is sad as the talented actor is top-billed.
However, my biggest letdown with this film was highly surprising and not in a good way. The film’s ending and the finale is horribly bad. The ending, while surprising, didn’t seem to match up with what the film was building towards. I even felt that the film had somewhat wronged and cheated me as an audience member. Granted this opinion could vary, but my jaw generally dropped to the floor upon my first watch. It’s simply downright baffling that the film-makers took a path that was so unfitting.
Overall, we all love a good revenge tale and Ravage, for the most part, delivers a pleasing and gritty time even if it feels familiar. Actress Annabelle Dexter-Jones is easily the best highlight of the film, and I enjoyed her performance right from the start. Bruce Dern is given very little screen time which is disappointing as he is the top billing. The film is filled with moments that are either predictable or pure fluke, and the ending was downright baffling and not in a positive way. I honestly felt robbed given my investment and the journey this film took me on. Those who enjoy revenge films should certainly check this out even if it misses core elements (again, the ending!). Ravage (2019) is Now Available on DVD!