Rattlesnake Movie Review
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Austin Film Festival – If horror cinema has taught us anything over the years, it’s you do not make deals with the devil. He’s not exactly trustworthy. But Katrina (Carmen Ejogo) doesn’t have much of a choice when her daughter Clara’s (Apollonia Pratt) life hangs in the balance during a road trip across the West Texas desert. Her little girl is bitten by a venomous rattlesnake while playing and waiting for her to change a blown tire. With no cellular service and a disabled vehicle, the mother and daughter are seemingly helpless in the desolate landscape until a mysterious woman appears to offer Katrina help in exchange for “payment.” Katrina entrusts the woman to care for Clara while she addresses the vehicle, but when she returns, Clara is unconscious but stable, and without a bite mark. The woman is gone.
Katrina transfers her daughter to the nearby hospital in Tulia, Texas, but the doctors are baffled. There’s no evidence Clara had been attacked. Naturally, they begin to wonder if something is wrong with Katrina. Perhaps. She receives a visitor who informs her that payment is now due. She must take someone else’s life by sunset. It doesn’t matter who, why, or how. Just kill.
If anything, Netflix’s latest original film Rattlesnake is the most straight-forward horror-thriller title released this season. It begs the question, “would you take a life to save the life of a loved one?” Katrina wrestles with morality for a large portion of the film, which is just me telling you not much happens in this movie unless you’re into watching the protagonist stare blankly into the dusty abyss – it is a beautiful dusty abyss. There’s a mystery to the ghosts that appear to remind Katrina of her debt, a connection between their deaths that Rattlesnake teases but never fully explores. Frankly, it’s a tensionless waste of 85 minutes.