American Poltergeist: The Curse of Lilith Ratchet – Alice and her best friend Lauren inadvertently set a hellish curse in motion after surprisingly acquiring a mysterious shrunken head. Wanting to know more about their fiendish find, they pay a visit to a popular paranormal podcast host Hunter Perry of “Beyond the Veil”. Hunter discovers it’s true authenticity of the ages-old object and in hopes of creating a rating boost, he plans a LIVE podcast in which the tale of the shrunken head will be introduced to the masses. Little do they know by playing the game and calling her name they will release the malevolent demonic spirit of Lilith Ratchet.
What does it take to create an iconic horror villain? Just how “ratchet” should one be? An important question for all of us horror fiends to take a moment to ponder. It’s been a little bit of time since we were graced by such an interesting female creeper, and with Lilith Ratchet, you just might get your fix!
All good backstories for villains start with a life changing event, mostly a trauma, which leads to a curse and/or a revenge plot. Here, we get a little mix of something new along the lines of an urban legend that involves a witch, a box, a nasty little nursery rhyme and a shrunken head. You know, all the typical ingredients to most ratchet kickass parties I’d say. Recite the rhyme “Lilith Ratchet took a hatchet and gave her lover a head in a basket…”, and here comes Lilith to collect those who summon her, one by one. Thankfully, Mrs. Ratchet radiates the screen with ghoulish delight; dressed in a sweeping Victorian gown, paired with a razor tooth grin and long black nails, actress Chrissy Kolarik dials the gothic charm to 100%. I won’t spoil any ending plot details, but I think this is one indie scare-queen you’ll want at least a sequel out of!
If you are a fan of Eddie Lengyel of Hellweek (2010), Scarred (2016) and Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride (2018), be prepared for something a little more polished and quit a bit more ambitious. With Lilith Ratchet, you not only get a fully realized villain, but a rather large cast of characters that are developed just enough to sympathize with before the inevitable scare fest. Lengyel expertly juggles multiple plot lines of Alice & Dylan’s core group of friends, as well as Hunter & Bree’s podcast arc. As the two groups converge for the “Ratchet Party” (cue demon summoning), the narrative flows with those trying to break the curse and those trying to just stay alive. With a larger body count, the movie does cover a lot of ground, at the cost of a slightly longer runtime than I was expecting. Aside from the longer runtime, the only real negative for me is the title for the movie (it’s a mouthful), as it is not related to the other American Poltergeist movies, thankfully!
For those following Lengyel’s previous works, you’ll note the gore was nice and bloody, and while there were bloody moments in this one, along with some post-kill carnage, it is a bit dialed down and restrained here. Opting for much more of an urban gothic tone, it offers a haunting aesthetic that viewers will appreciate, and even want more of. Watching Lilith glide around an old building or outside among a misty city alleyway, the score also complimented that much desired throwback vibe.
For an indie horror movie, the acting was spot-on and memorable from everyone, with noted standouts from Rob Jaeger, Roger Conners, Angela Cole and KateLynn Newberry. Some were familiar faces, while others were new, keep an eye out on all…and especially Lilith too!
*(Damn Lilith and her haunting nursery rhyme, now I’m rhyming!)
The lowdown is definitely scoop this up on dvd now (was released 2/5/2019) in stock at Walmart, Amazon, Bull Moose and FYE. It’s got a classic supernatural slasher vibe to it, with a demented little twist and a villain with bite (literally). If you like Hammer Horror movies from the 60s-70s, as well as a nod to the early horror movies of the 1990s, you’ll devour this. A little blood and a whole lot of charm, give it a go!
* Fun Factoid -> Roger Conners and Eddie Lengyel designed Lilith’s garb (dress, wig, teeth and nails) and David Blain Click did makeup! Great job fellas, she’s so GORGE!