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Raven's Ridge (1997)

 -  Action | Drama
4.6
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Title: Raven's Ridge (1997)

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Complete credited cast:
William Kendall ...
Dawn Howard ...
Phillip Connery ...
David Kloser ...
...
Baxter Bodine (as Dale Howard)
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Paul Di Franco ...
Roy
Rick Dean ...
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Detective #1
Mike Upton ...
Detective #2
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John Rizzi ...
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Rated R for violence, some language and drug use | See all certifications »
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A high-schoolish attempt at movie-making
31 March 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

At the beginning of the video, before the movie begins, Mike Upton (who was "discovered" by Roger Corman) appears and gives what I can only describe as a disclaimer to his directorial debut. Essentially he says that he wants viewers to "keep in mind" as they watch, that the actors and crew are making this low-budget independent film, not for a "big check," but for their love of movie-making. And, he adds, everyone did the best they could. What does that mean?! That those actors in bigger productions who DO get a large paycheck DON'T do the best they can?!! Trying to pull at my heart strings, trying to illicit viewer sympathy for the cast and crew's supposedly altruistic ideals is not the basis upon which to plug a movie about robbery.

Which brings us to the plot, which was rehashed from other, better, movies and, besides that, was poorly executed. The plot devices--those scenes that are supposed to "move the plot along"--were always flimsy and often absurd. For example, one robber, who mentions that he's an ex-con, has conveniently infiltrated the ranks of the armored car service, becoming a driver. Only one problem with that: Armored car companies always do background checks and DON'T HIRE ex-cons. When the armored car was forced off the road, the legitimate security guards weren't suspicious--no standard operating procedures were executed.

The shootout scene is ridiculous. A half-dozen people fire at point-blank range but--and the film is weirdly doctored here--no one gets shot, though I could have sworn the fat cop did. Confusing editing. The robbers, though they had the shootout near a city, weren't worried about anyone hearing the noise.

Motivation? There really is none given. Obviously the desire for wealth is a motivation for robbery, but these characters weren't developed enough to SHOW us WHY they decided to turn to crime. The movie starts and BAM, a bunch of young people are planning to rob an armored car--"just because"--the viewer is left to assume.

But the robbery is merely a way to get the kids into the woods where, the director apparently thinks, the real creepiness will begin. Wrong. This 'antagonist'(who's the protagonist? I never figured it out)is the most a not-so-scary-as-he-is-strange bad guy. But he's nothing more than a caricature of a "redneck."

Oh, everything about this movie was dumb. The crime, the arrest scene, the purpose of the map, the couple getting angry at each other, the digging for the loot, the redneck, the shootout, the interrogator, the traps, the final scene--everything! It's as if a bunch of talented high-schoolers made a movie.


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