Ravage (also known as Swing Low) follows nature photographer Harper Sykes (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) who finds herself in a lot of danger after witnessing a man being whipped and beaten in the woods. After using her camera to capture the crime scene, she flees to a nearby police station to report what she saw and provide evidence.
This film wastes no time in showing us its brutal nature, with the opening sequence making viewers uncomfortable immediately. It then brings us to Harper, who is in hospital with her face completely bandaged. So we know she survived… but what on earth happened to burn her that badly?
Harper is swiftly kidnapped by the attackers after finding out she reported them, and they take her to a farmhouse to torture her. But as she’s a survivalist, she managed to get free and track down those responsible for harming her.
One of the kidnappers, Ravener (Robert Longstreet). is particularly chilling in this film. Horror fans may recognise him from Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House, and he gives his all to his sadistic character in Ravage.
The rest of the film follows Harper’s attempts to get revenge, and even though there’s some impressive gory moments it doesn’t do much to elevate itself above similar films in the genre. Annabelle Dexter-Jones gives a strong and convincing performance, but at times I found scenes to drag a bit longer than needed.
I haven’t seen Dexter-Jones in anything else, but she really impressed me here. Whilst we don’t know a lot about the protagonist, she’s likeable and tried to do the right thing by taking photo evidence to the police.
The film has a fairly short runtime, but I found the pacing a bit off and wish they’d used the time they had to develop the story a little more and answer some of the burning questions I had. With a little more context and backstory, I probably would’ve liked this film a lot more.
Having said that, some of the kills were definitely thrilling and made up for the points in the film that seemed to drag on longer than they should’ve. Harper is ruthless in her pursuit for revenge, making the viewer wonder if she’s ever done this before.
But things soon turn bleak for our protagonist, as from the very beginning we know she’s in the hospital with some pretty nasty injuries. It’s not known if she’ll ever fully recover from them, or ever be the same again.
With this in mind, Ravage has one of the strangest and most disturbing endings I’ve ever seen, and whilst the shock factor should be applauded it lacked the punch I was hoping for. Many strong horror films have benefited from an impactful end shot, and sadly this one didn’t have the same payoff.
I won’t spoil what happens, but it definitely left me with more questions than I had at the beginning of the film which is disappointing. However, if you’re not that fussed about context, this ending might work better for you. It’s not the worst ending I’ve ever seen, but it did leave me feeling a bit deflated.
It’s a decent little horror and an interesting directorial debut from Teddy Grennan, and I especially loved the score, but there was room for improvement and I look forward to seeing where he takes us next.