Netflix's Rattlesnake Lacks Bite
The Netflix original movie “Rattlesnake” sinks its fangs into the realm of the supernatural, but not enough to puncture the surface.
It is directed by Zak Hilditch, who previously worked on the compelling end-of-days film “These Final Hours” and most notably his Stephen King film adaptation of the book “1922.”
Snaking Through the Plot
The movie begins with Katrina (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter Clara (Apollonia Pratt) driving through Texas. While passing through a desolate section of the desert, their car gets a flat tire, forcing the two to pull over.
As Katrina changes the tire, Clara is bitten by a rattlesnake. As fate would have it, nearby is a rundown trailer with a mysterious woman who saves the girl.
Katrina’s mental and emotional stability is put to the test, intertwining with the other-worldly forces which give way to some startling encounters throughout the movie. Her frantic interactions with other characters like Abbie (Emma Greenwell) and Billy (Theo Rossi) lead to a few tense moments. However the characters lack meaningful character development.
The film reminds us that nothing is free as Katrina is thrust into a time-sensitive contract which will test her morality: She is tasked with performing a murderous eye-for-an-eye exchange.
Sadly, this is as deep as the plot goes.
Shaking Your Rattle
Although this is an excellent concept for a thrilling horror film, it quickly falls apart trying to reach feature length. Hilditch never really explores the interesting dynamic of a conflicted single mother in a remote town who is forced to engage in a dangerous game of “predator and prey” to ensure here daughter’s safety.
This feeling is further enforced as the supernatural element is thrown to the wayside and never really progresses.
Katrina encounters a boy who she must select as a “target” to repay her child’s debt. While sitting in the car contemplating her decision, the boy approaches her without warning and mysteriously taps his wrist — possibly indicating that Katrina’s time is running short.
This potentially interesting theme of a constant otherworldly surveillance is weakly explored. It completely fades as events unfold, resulting in a lackluster plot rather than an intriguing mystery that is trying to be understood or solved.
The reveal is conveniently simple and two-dimensional, nagging the viewer to emotionally connect and care during the latter half of the film. The actors were underutilized primarily due to the mediocre script.
That’s not to say that there weren’t some good aspects to the movie: The cinematography of the surrounding desert captured a realistic sense of isolation that one would imagine experiencing while traveling the vast backroads of America.
If you are an avid horror fan and are looking for a new flick to play in the background while you do something around the house, this is a good choice.
But if you’re the type of person that watches the genre once in a while, you’re better off checking out different seasons of the 1959 “Twilight Zone” TV series (also available on Netflix) or waiting for something else to slither your way.