Film Review: Ratter


Branden Kramer’s Ratter features a really interesting concept. The execution does not quite live up to this, but is still very entertaining.

Emma is a graduate student who recently moved into a flat by herself in New York. Settling in to her new lifestyle, Emma is a being watched by a stalker who uses her electronic devices to keep tabs on her…

Director-writer Branden Kramer has proposed some riveting ideas in Ratter. Specifically, the notion that a person’s own phone and other devices could be used to film them without their knowledge or consent is a frightening one. This is particularly true in this world of omnipresent camera phones and tablets..

Kramer plays on the idea of who or what is stalking protagonist Emma in Ratter. Ideas of of otherness are dispelled as the film progresses. Suspects are lined up, with a handful of characters in Emma’s life. Nonetheless, the identity of the stalker is not strongly hinted at through the course of the film. In this way, Ratter keeps the audience guessing. The end result of the film may disappoint some.

Kramer uses the devices surrounding Emma in her everyday life to view her through the eyes of the stalker. Ratter takes the stalkers viewpoint less as it progresses, but retains filming through Emma’s phone, laptop and games console. The film uses horror/thriller devices with increasing frequency as it draws near its conclusion. It is actually an interesting idea to have the protagonist in an agitated state, yet the audience sees more than she does.

There are some nice exchanges earlier in Ratter, particularly between Emma and Michael. Emma’s relationship with Nicole functions solely as a device for Emma to air her concerns, which makes the relationship ring hollow. Ashley Benson is decent as Emma, whilst Matt McGorry is suitably cast as Michael.

Ratter offers something different, and is a worthwhile watch for this alone. The film succeeds in being unsettling for the ideas it presents.

Ratter is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2015.