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Friday, May 2, 2014

The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Full of plot holes and cheesy dialogue, The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger is a B horror movie straight out of the 80s. After taking a wrong turn down an abandoned road, the Jock, the Joker, the Blond Bimbo and the Paranoid Brunette run out of gas and find themselves stranded in the middle of the woods. What a total drag. What was that noise? Why is everyone vanishing? Is it all one of Bradley’s dumb practical jokes, or could the legend be true? Your compass won’t save you from the psychotic forest ranger in his woods.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
What can I say?  The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger is a horror movie straight out of my childhood.  I enjoyed the parody of the 80s movies and that each of the characters was such a cliché of the typical teenager in the movies. 

Four teenagers are headed into the woods for a weekend camping trip when they run out of gas on an abandoned road.  They leave the car and start walking, each taking their bags, except for the Jock, who takes the cooler filled with beer.  After walking a while, they come upon a house and after realizing no one is home, go in and decide to sleep there for the night.  While there, a Forest Ranger comes a knocking and warns them of a prowler in the woods, which scares the girls.  The next morning, they see someone in the window and after the guys chase him through the woods, they come upon another group of teenagers (another Jock, Joker, Blond and Brunette), who have gas, beer and food.

The eight of them all pair off – as always in 80s movies – with the Joker and the Blond together and the Brunette and the Jock together.  Around the campfire, they tell the story of the Psychotic Forest Ranger and when one-by-one, they start disappearing, the remaining teens think it’s either an elaborate practical joke, or the Forest Ranger is real and coming after them. Of course, the viewer is aware that it’s the Forest Ranger exacting his revenge on the teenage litterers and environment killers, and we see his over-the-top killing spree, complete with an over-exaggerated laugh, mirrored sunglasses and red devil eyes.

I love that the cast and crew didn’t take themselves too seriously with this movie and it was intentionally done as a parody.  80s horror movies, I think, will go down in history as some of the cheesiest movies and The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger is a great take on those bad movies.  It’s one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies and all the actors did a good job over acting.  I’d like to see what they can do if they really tried.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen presentation of The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger is clear and well done.  As the movie is supposed to be a throwback to the campy 80s movies, it had 80s-style picture quality, which normally would grant the film a lower rating, but since it was done on purpose, I thought it was done really well.  Flesh tones were natural and the colors were good.  Much of the movie takes place at night and even in the dark, the picture was still sharp and clear.  This was a good throwback to the old filming techniques used 30 years ago.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The 2.0 stereo audio was pretty good.  Again, in this parody of 80s slasher films, the background music was over exaggerated and extra loud.  At times, the audio track was off, with the lines finished before the actors’ lips stopped moving, which normally would bring the score way down.  But because (I’m fairly certain) that’s how it was supposed to be, it didn’t bother me as much as it normally would. 
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
I would have loved to have seen a behind-the-scenes featurette of the making of this movie and a blooper reel.  I think those would have been hilarious.  What was included was okay, but not too interesting.
  • Audio Commentary – The film with commentary from Director Brad Mills and “Hobo with a Shotgun” writer, John Davies.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Slideshow – A slideshow of photographs of the cast and crew set to music from the movie.  I enjoyed these photos.  It looked like a lot of fun was had making the movie.
  • More from Level 33 Entertainment – Previews of other movies from the production company.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger is a fun, cheesy throwback to 80s teen horror flicks that will leave you laughing at its stupidity.  It’s so bad it’s good and I enjoyed watching it.  It amazes me how movie making has changed from then to now.  Obviously special effects have gotten better, but so too has acting (for most actors), screenwriting, music and the filming itself.  For the cast and crew to pull off this funny parody really shows they know how to have a good time and laugh at themselves.  I will definitely add this to my DVD viewing rotation and recommend it to everyone who remembers the 80s and the bad films made during the decade.

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