Review: Ratter (Branden Kramer, 2015)

With Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended and Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows, tech-bound terror has become an increasingly popular source of inspiration for directors looking to thrill, while also keeping an eye firmly on the more problematic elements of society’s ever-developing relationship with the Internet. Joining this small but growing genre is writer-director Branden Kramer’s feature debut, Ratter.

While Unfriended and Open Windows were largely relegated to laptop cameras for their spying and stalking, Ratter stands apart by framing its visuals through other devices that happen to be web-connected. The unsettling setup for the film sees student Emma (Ashley Benson, of Spring Breakers and Pretty Little Liars fame) move into a New York single apartment to commence her graduate studies and also distance herself from a controlling ex back in her home town. Unbeknownst to her, however, is the fact that someone has hacked into all of her web-connected devices, giving them the ability to spy on her via laptop, smart phone, games console, you name it. And this predatory proclivity isn’t just relegated to when she’s going about her day in her apartment; thanks to the smartphone hack, the menace is able to stalk her in public places as well…

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