If there is one word that describes Anchor Bay Entertainment’s new movie, The Rambler, it would be twisted. The story, which centers on a nameless ex-con who has just been released from prison, is one part horror and one part black comedy. Both are genres in which Anchor Bay seems to be quite versed. So it should come as no surprise to have star Dermot Mulroney’s nameless figure meet a demented mad scientist along his journey who uses a machine that can record people’s dreams onto VHS and at the same time, blow up their heads. It’s just as unsurprising to see the amount of blood, gore and violence in general that makes up this movie. As much blatant blood, gore, and violence as there is throughout this ninety-minute plus piece, one could actually argue that in a sense, it’s a commentary of sorts. It’s a bizarre commentary. But it could definitely be argued to be a commentary. So perhaps that is the best place to start.
The Rambler could be argued to be a commentary in that Mulroney’s character is the only normal individual in what is an otherwise completely twisted, off-kilter society. He has just gotten out of jail, which by comparison actually seems tame after he experiences what he does with the mad scientist, a crooked boxing manager, and a woman that seems to keep appearing and disappearing throughout the story penned and helmed by Calvin Reeder. One could argue that the dream sequence on the part of Mulroney’s nameless character is in a way, a commentary about mankind’s fascination with blood and gore. The people in his dream are all standing outside a liquor store watching a woman being eaten alive by a dog. Yet when Mulroney’s cowboy-esque character pulls a winning lottery ticket from the woman’s bloodied body, everybody starts applauding him. It’s at that point that he wakes up from his dream. This is of course wholly speculation on the part of this critic. But being that the movie doesn’t include a director’s commentary as a bonus, speculation is all that one can rely on in deciding the truth behind this. And maybe that’s a good thing. Because there is no commentary and because of the extreme content, it does lead to discussion.
Discussions aside, this movie is not for everyone. It is a very dark and disturbing psychological work. Even older audiences might find themselves being unsettled by this work. Forget the bloodshed. The imagery in general in this story is sure to leave even those with the strongest of constitutions weak. For those that might find themselves feeling queasy and scared, it would be best to not watch it alone or while one is eating. However, for those that are fans of horror movies, it would be a perfect fit. The movie is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
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