"Near the end of the Summer of 2012, the rural southern Texas community of El Campo was thrown into a state of fear and panic upon the discovery of the mutilated bodies of four teens on the abandoned Junior High School campus. A camcorder, a cassette player, and numerous documents recovered from the scene of the grisly murder gave insight into the shocking final hours of the four youths."Ranger Rick
— The film's opening text
is a low-budget independent psychological horror film presented as a documentary concerning the a string of murders and abductions carried out by the titular Ranger Rick, a local urban legend and Humanoid Abomination
with an agenda all its own.
The film is notable for its handling of the concepts of fear and psychological horror. The main focus of the film is the recorded footage left behind by four teens who went in search of Ranger Rick before things went horribly wrong. Throughout most of the movie, Ranger Rick is not seen, but his presence is felt throughout, allowing the viewer to make their own assumptions about the enigmatic being, and whether he exists or not.
Ranger Rick contains examples of:
- Abandoned Area: Most of the film takes place in and around the old abandoned Junior High School campus.
- Apocalyptic Log
- Backstory Horror: It takes a lot to turn a sane and caring family man into a unstoppable serial killer who can bend the very fabric of reality.
- Bloodless Carnage: The creators of the film wanted it to focus on psychological horror and subconscious anxiety, thus, not a single drop of blood is ever shown on camera.
- Body Horror: What Dr. Steiner did to Carol.
- Break the Cutie: Carol was turned from a sweet little girl into a mentally-defunct science experiment, thanks to Dr. Steiner.
- Cat Scare: Ranger Rick loves pulling this on his victims before he finally moves in for the kill.
- Cry for the Devil: Ranger Rick
- Developing Doomed Characters
- Eldritch Location: Ranger Rick's supernatural influence has turned El Campo Junior High into this.
- Facial Horror: Carol
- First Person Camera
- Found Footage Films
- Foregone Conclusion: It's known from the start that our four heroes aren't getting out of this alive.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Where do we begin?
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Ranger Rick, at least, for the first half of the movie.
- The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: Will, Dingee, Blake, and Matt spend the first half of the movie trying to capture footage of Ranger Rick. Guess what happens when they finally meet?
- Implacable Man: Ranger Rick will never stop.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: Ranger Rick sings these to himself as he lurches about. Justified in that his mind was broken completely by the murder of his young daughter and he's stuck under the permanent delusion that she's still alive, somewhere.
- Kill 'em All
- Limp and Livid: Ranger Rick's default posture.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Ranger Rick. 'Nuff said.
- Medical Horror: The fate of poor little Carol.
- Menacing Stroll: Ranger Rick never escalates above a menacing limp.
- No Budget: The entire film was done on a budget of $2,000.
- Nothing Is Scarier: For the entire first half of the movie, Ranger Rick is never seen. This makes him all the more horrifying as the filmmakers (and the viewer) begin to wonder if he even exists at all.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Ranger Rick is a master of this.
- Papa Wolf: Ranger Rick. Dear God, Ranger Rick.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse
- Psychological Horror
- Psychological Torment Zone: From unsettling hallucinations, changing corridors, and all manners of insanity, Ranger Rick's domain has this covered.
- Turned Against Their Masters: It is implied that this is what happened to Carol.
- Wrench Whack: Ranger Rick uses a bent pipe wrench to dispatch his victims.
- Weapon of Choice: Ranger Rick alternates between his trademark strangling lasso and a bent pipe wrench.