New Horror Releases: The Curse of Lilith Ratchet (2018) - Reviewed

Written and directed by Eddie Lengyel, known in the same capacity for Hellweek (2010) and Scarred (2016), The Curse of Lilith Ratchet sports a nice, original trinket we do not see in everyday horror – a shrunken head with its own game.

The story is about Alice (KateLynn E. Newberry) and her best friend Lauren (Brianna Burke), who inadvertently set a hellish curse in motion after surprisingly acquiring a mysterious shrunken head. Wanting to know more about their fiendish find, they pay a visit to a popular paranormal podcast host Hunter Perry of Beyond the Veil, the name of his show. Always looking for more ratings, Hunter investigates the background of the relic and finds that it has a nursery rhyme and a very nasty backstory attached to it. 

He plans a live podcast in a local club in which the tale of the shrunken head will be introduced to the masses, the game will be played and, with a little rigging, the tale would pass as authentic and the staged ghost of the shrunken head in question will appear to scare the hell out of all present. Little do they know, by playing the game and calling her name, they will release the malevolent demonic spirit of Lilith Ratchet, a character clearly inspired by Lizzy Borden.

And there you have it – an excellent opportunity to throw in a bit of witchcraft from a macabre tribal practice, right? Unfortunately not. The film is plagued by bad acting and the main concept is not used to the full to invoke fear of the demon/ poltergeist/ cursed soul Lilith Ratchet. Yes, you read correctly. The writing is loose on the subject of the occult, clearly striving more for hype than authenticity.

From the introductory scene we can tell that this is not a mature, intelligent venture into the obscure dark arts, but another teen bimbo ensemble to chew our nails to. Having said that, the film does have a fine pace onward through the first part that successfully establishes the plot and the eerie backstory of Mrs. Ratchet’s unbecoming undoing. In fact, it even excites you into anticipation for the monstrous lady-demon to reveal herself. She does not disappoint.

One of the best things about The Curse of Lilith Ratchet is the actual villain, who absolutely looks the part of an 19th Century murderess. Lilith Ratchet is chillingly played by Crissy Kolarik, who does not utter a single word while she terrifies the insolent group of people who dared play her game. From a technical point of view, the make-up and effects are on point, salvaging what is left after Newberry’s deplorable acting skills that detract from the film’s finer points. 

The story loses focus in places, concentrating less on the delicious demon and more on the characters’ weeping over lost friends while the killings are unoriginal, improbable and almost laughable (if something tries to drown me three times in my bathtub, I’ll make an effort to get the hell out of the water).

With potential this intriguing going to waste, The Curse of Lilith Ratchet loses points for effort and comes across as messy and average, but its climax scene left me more than satisfied for bearing through to the end. Watch it if you like an average little horror to kill your boredom and enjoy the lovely demoness – but still I prefer Mary Shaw.

--Tasha Danzig