A Slow-Paced Thriller
With Halloween fast approaching, Netflix jump right on the bandwagon and begin churning out their yearly plethora of horror films – Rattlesnake being the latest one. While the idea behind it is interesting and has potential, it doesn’t quite reach the heights expected and fails to deliver anything original. With the exception of the main actress, beautiful cinematography and a few tense moments, Rattlesnake is not a very scary horror nor is it a particularly thrilling thriller, despite some promise early on.
The story begins with Katrina and her daughter Clara driving across Texas on their way to start a new life. As she takes a detour and stops to change her tyre, her wandering daughter gets bitten by a rattlesnake. Unable to call 911 and with a broken-down car, she has no choice but to trust a strange woman who mysteriously cures Clara. Unfortunately, this miracle comes at a price. That price being to trade a soul for a soul; she will have to kill someone to keep her daughter alive.
While a lot of horror movies take their time to get to the good stuff, Rattlesnake bursts out the gate and doesn’t take long to plunge into the heart of the main plot with the deal Katrina ends up making with the devil. This does add some urgency to the movie but with the second half greatly slowing things down, Rattlesnake’s pace is wildly inconsistent and therein lies the main problem here. I found myself wanting to fast forward the movie during quite a few scenes and when a film has you itching to do that, you know there’s a problem.
It’s not all bad though and during these slower moments, the performance from Carmen Ejogo is impressive enough to keep you watching. It helps too that there’s some very good cinematography here, boasted and backed up by the visual spectacle of the choked Texan desert which makes for some breathtaking shots.
Thematically, the idea that parents would do anything to protect their children is not an original one but it is well-rehearsed here. Having kids myself, it certainly made me think what I would do in this kind of situation and without giving too much away, there’s some clever juxtaposition with the snake towards the end of the movie which is certainly a nice touch.
Even with a sense of urgency and the length of the movie clocking in at 85 minutes, Netflix’s latest horror Rattlesnake feels far too slow and unfulfilling when the final credits roll. While the movie itself is far from awful, given the interesting themes and compelling lead actress, it also falls flat in offering a decent horror thriller for this Halloween season to sink your teeth into.