Range 15: A Review
By Kevin Wilson
Full Disclosure: Both Unapologetically American and The Rhino Den are owned by Ranger Up, and while I don’t have anything to do with Article 15, I would do things to Vincent Vargas’s mustache that I can’t even spell. It’s magnificent.
It might seem pretty pretentious for a writer that works for one half of the team behind Range 15 to review it. And ordinarily, you’d be right. However, I’ve two things to say in my defense: firstly, they don’t really pay us so much as they tell Jack Mandaville to stop staring into our bedroom windows if we turn in enough content to make the his handlers happy. Secondly, Range 15 is not really my kind of movie. By that I mean I prefer my comedy to be more Douglas Adams than Adam Sandler, and if not for the circumstances surrounding it, I probably wouldn’t have given Range 15 the time of day.
If you’re not familiar with Range 15, here’s basically all you need to know. Two of the largest military lifestyle brands, Ranger Up and Article 15, set out to make the most fucked up zombie movie ever. The vast majority of the funding came from a highly successful Indiegogo campaign, and the cast and crew are something like 90% veterans. They got a series of high profile actors to make cameos, and got one of the most notorious indie horror directors in the business to direct.
This movie is a success on multiple levels. It is, in fact, the most fucked up zombie movie I’ve ever seen. It’s gutbustingly funny. The guys from Ranger Up and Article 15 made for surprisingly competent actors, and the production team did an outstanding job of stretching a shoestring budget out way the hell further than it had any right to go. High art this ain’t, but for a schlocky zombie flick, it’s supremely satisfying.
I do have a couple of nitpicks, but they really are just nitpicks. This is definitely a movie worth seeing, with a couple of caveats. Firstly, it’s not a movie for the easily offended. Hell, it’s not a movie for someone that can be offended, period. If the idea of a dude getting his dick ripped off by a midget zombie or toddler zombies getting their heads blown off onscreen makes you queasy, you probably ought not see this movie. If you’re offended by foul language or sexual content, likewise. There’s no nudity, but there are a couple of sex scenes, and they break the top ten list for all time most uses of the fuck word.
That’s one of my nitpicks, by the way. I’ve always been of the opinion that there’s nothing wrong with being offensive in movies, so long as it serves the plot. And a couple of the gags seemed a bit…gratuitous. They work within the context of the movie well enough, but some worked better than others.
Speaking of gratuitous, there’s a fair bit of casual murder. As in, a fair few nonzombies die ignoble deaths at the hands of the main characters. It’s funny as hell and makes for some of the better gags in the film, but it’s kinda hard not to calculate the prison sentence they’d be racking up over the course of the film.
My last nitpick is that the plot seems disjointed in places. The story is easy enough to follow, but there are moments where you might have to rewind in your head a bit to figure out exactly what X has to do with Y. To be fair though, it’s easy to miss things when you’re laughing in equal parts horror and amusement.
And make no mistake, you will be laughing. I’ve never laughed so hard at someone picking up a dropped set of keys in the course of a fairly normal conversation in my life. And that scene where they do the thing with…
Look, just watch the damn movie. The first night of showings may be over, but there still should be plenty of chances to pick up tickets for another in the coming days and weeks. Range 15 is a lot like one of those “no shit, there I was” stories. You’re fairly certain that what you’re seeing and hearing is going to get you sent to hell just by being in the vicinity, but like all the best ones, you won’t care because it’s a hell of a ride.