Digital Dismemberment: American Poltergeist: The Curse Of Lilith Ratchet DVD Review

Digital Dismemberment: American Poltergeist: The Curse Of Lilith Ratchet DVD Review

Director: Eddie Lengyel
Producers: Eddie Lengyel
Special Effects: William M. Johns
Cast: KateLynn E. Newberry, Rob Jaeger, Roger Conners, Angela Cole, Brianna Burke, George Tutie, Crissy Kolarik, Layla Cushman, Lauren Paulis, D.J. Remark, Debbie Scaletta, Ann Shamess, Dionnea Maree Ford, Morrigan Thompson, Pauline Nowakowski, Sean Keta, Janine Sarnowski, Richard Phillis, Jessica Thomas, Alan Thomas and Devin McClung
Released By: ITN Distribution
Release Date: February 5th, 2019

The Premise: “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.

Independent filmmaking is often a mixed bag when it comes to the final results and when you find a director that can take a micro budget and make something worth watching, you should take notice and continue to follow their work. One of those directors is Eddie Lengyel and his latest film The Curse of Lilith Ratchet once again hits the mark. If you are not familiar with Eddie’s past films like Hellweek (2010), Scarred (2016), Voodoo Rising (2016) and Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride (2018) then you are missing out on a filmmaker that not only gets the most out of his restrictive budgets, but also gets the most from his cast and crew. Over the course of his films, Eddie has always upped the scare quality and production values by leaps and bounds and this one is no exception. I found the technical aspects of this film to be really solid, in particular the lighting and camera work. Solid sound and FX work really ties this all together with a blood spattered bow…

The uniqueness of the character of Lilith Ratchet is what stands out the most in this release. While there are those that will point out similarities to characters like Lizzie Borden and Bloody Mary as well as films like The Woman in Black (2012), Final Destination (2000) and Candyman (1992), there remains an air of mystery about her and the feeling that could offer just as much terror, if not more, than many of her genre contemporaries. The Victorian era style of her clothing obviously gives her a surreal gothic look and feel and with the addition of her razor sharp teeth and fingernails, you know that the mayhem can only get more gruesome if there are future installments. I really liked the poem/incantation that leads to her arriving as well as the ornate box and shrunken head that holds the last of her earthly remains. Bonus points as well for some of the really incredible set locations utilized in the making of this film as well. They certainly lend a level of atmosphere that many lower budgeted genre films seems to miss getting…

*SPOILER ALERT* The film opens up with a shot of a young lady running into a house with an ornate wooden box. She finds her friend inside and as they open the box to drive a knife through a shrunken head that is contained inside, we suddenly see Lilith Ratchet appear and dispatch the two them rather quickly. We flash back to seeing two different young ladies entering an occult shop and seeing the same ornate box. When they inquire about it to the shop owner and are told it is not for sale, they steal it and take it to a local podcaster who pays them $200 for the box and its contents. His plan is to host a show about the origins of Lilith Ratchet and then to “play the game” contained inside to summon forth her ghost at a local Halloween party as a publicity stunt. Shortly afterwards, everyone that attended the party begins to die in mysterious and horrific ways. It starts with one man that is struck down by a car (really well done and will catch you off guard) and a really creepy and drawn out death sequence in a bathtub made to look like a suicide. Hunter (the podcaster) starts to have a creepy feeling that the game may have something to do with it but his girlfriend talks him out of that thought. Other people that attended the party begin to find out about the deaths and start to question whether the “game” had anything to do with the mysterious events…

One young lady in particular, Alice, feels there is more to what is going on than meets the eye. She confronts Hunter and he decides to take Alice and two other friends to meet his aunt who is a psychic/medium. The aunt inspects the box and its contents before performing a seance where only she sees one of the dead friends and Lilith Ratchet herself. Lilith possesses the aunt and basically tells the group things to throw them off of truth of the situation. Alice still feels that there is something more going on, but no one seems to believe her. Dillon, the best friend of the man hit by the car is not sure what to think and has a strange occurrence of his own with a young blond headed lady that starts to make him question things as well. Lola, a young lady that taped the Halloween party calls the Hunter and tells him that she found something strange on the tape. Bree, his assistant and girlfriend is killed by Lilith in her garage while on the phone with him, snapping her neck while sitting in the car. Lilith then confronts Dillon in his house and gruesomely slashes his face and throat with her nails. The shop owner where the box was stolen from contacts Hunter and gives him the details of what is really going on and gives him a plan to defeat her. As more and more of their friends die, Will Hunter and Alice survive the wrath of Lilith Ratchet? You are going to have to watch to find out!

Bonus Features:
Trailers for An Eye For an Eye, Voodoo Rising, Scarred and Mother Krampus 2

ITN Distribution deserves much credit for allowing filmmakers like Eddie the opportunity to get their films out to the genre loving crowd. Eddie also deserves praise for continuing to follow his passion and putting out quality entertainment that shows that it is not always the budget that can make a film. My only complaint about this release would be the lack of Special Features. The inclusion of the trailers is fantastic and the cover art is quite stunning, but I feel like interviews with Eddie and the cast members (especially Crissy Kolarik in the role of Lilith Ratchet) would really have gone a long way for this release. A behind the scenes on how the make-up and costume of Lilith Ratchet came to be would have been quite stunning and even a piece on the locations used would have been really cool. However, don’t let a lack of Special Features keep you from viewing this film. The passion and talent on display is something to behold and shows that if you really want to make a film with some substance, it can be done!

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5
DVD Rating: 5 out of 10

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Posted by Dedman

Writer for House of Tortured Souls website, Coffin Cuties & Digital Dead Magazines, Podcast Host for The Calling Hours & Owner of Slit of the Wrist Fx

2 comments

Daniel Blain Click

For some reason you didn’t mention the makeup fx for the movie were done by Daniel Blain Click and Sarah Rizer

Michael Christopher Jones

Per the IMDB page, William M. John’s is listed as the FX artist. I apologise for any oversights…

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