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Film / Downrange

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Deadly road trips tend to come in several flavors, ranging from the supernatural to the distressingly realistic. You might find yourself trapped with wild animals, ravenous zombies, inbred rednecks, or ruthless upper-crust sadists with no apparent escape—but at least the Bad Thing gets up close and personal with its hapless victims.

However, when Todd and his friends encounter this trope on a remote country road somewhere between home and the ass-end of nowhere, they find themselves trapped with a crippled car in the sights of a mysterious sniper who seems perfectly content to stay undercover and pick them off at his leisure.

Downrange (2017) is an American horror thriller film written and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. It stars Kelly Connaire, Stephanie Pearson, and Rod Hernandez.

Tropes found in this movie:

  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the movie, every character shown on-screen has died, protagonists and antagonists alike.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The gunman is killed, meaning he can’t continue his sniping spree, but so is everyone else.
  • Cold Sniper: The gunman doesn’t seem to get any sort of euphoria or adrenaline rush from picking people off. He just sits in his nest and chooses his shots with the same indifference as an office worker checking his email.
  • Death of a Child: The sniper doesn't seem to care that one of his victims is a twelve-year-old girl.
  • The Faceless: The most we see of the sniper is a shape in a ghillie suit, with an occasional glimpse of his mouth as he takes a drink of water or a bite of jerky.
  • For the Evulz: Judging by the hash marks on the sniper’s rifle-butt, he’s been doing this awhile, and he seems to prefer crippling and terrifying his prey over ending them outright.
  • No Name Given: The sniper is only listed as “The Gunman” in credits.
  • Military Brat: Keren is an army brat, giving her an insight into the sniper’s weapon (an antique, initially with a silencer) and his likely strategy, as well as their own options for avoiding his gunfire and possible escape.
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed; they show up fairly briskly once someone is able to call 911, and they set up a decent plan to take down the gunman, but he is too well-hidden and he picks them off as well.
  • Sadist: It is clear over the course of the movie that while the sniper could have taken out the carload of kids at any time, he prefers to play with them to prolong their suffering for the better part of a day.
  • Silent Antagonist: The sniper never utters a word or a sound.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Judging by his familiarity with fire weapons and his markmanship it's implied that the sniper might be a retired soldier or at least someone with a military past probably involved in some war crimes or else given his sadistc nature.
  • Splatter Horror: The gore is heavy in this film; the gunshot wounds are brutal, messy, and painful-looking, and the first victim of the sniper is shown as the camera dollies back through a messy head wound.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never find out who the sniper is, or what led him to set up a sniper nest along the highway for his own private shooting gallery.