[Movie Review] “Ratter”

“We’re constantly connected through our phones, laptops and the Web every moment of every day. But while we look at our screens, who’s looking at us?”

If that line doesn’t creep the hell out of you, or even just a little bit, then there’s probably something wrong with you.

I came across this movie while I was doing my daily browsing of the sites where I illegally download movies (like everyone else on Earth). I saw the poster, which was creepy, and I saw that I know the actress in it – Ashley Benson, so I was like, why not? Let’s go for it. It’ll be an addition to my “200 movies a year” challenge.

Moving on… I don’t really get scared or creeped out by movies (or anything) that much. I prefer watching suspense, thriller and horror flicks as opposed to romance and drama. When I watched “Ratter”, I wasn’t expecting much. I only read a short synopsis over at IMDB.com and it says “Emma, a graduate student living alone in NYC, is being watched by a stalker who hacks into the technology that surrounds her – laptop, cell phone, and other web connected devices. This obsession continues to grow as the hacker records Emma’s most intimate moments. When the thrill of watching isn’t enough, the situation escalates to a dangerous and terrifying level.”

So, basically, it’s a movie about a very smart and technologically advanced stalker.
I instantly felt a connection to Emma, since I used to live alone and I do the exact same things that she did in the film. The first and last thing I do every day is look at my phone or my laptop. I go to the toilet with my phone, and I’m not just talking about when I take a shower. I hate silence, so I always watch some random clips on YouTube or browse through Facebook and Twitter while doing “my business” in the toilet.

I like to multitask. I leave my laptop on, playing some music, a TV series or a movie, whenever I’m doing something else, like exercising, cooking, folding my laundry or cleaning my room. I leave it on at night because I couldn’t wait for my “downloads” to finish. Even when I’m asleep, it’s still on. I just turn it off when I wake up at around 4 AM (coz I go to work at 5 AM).
So, yeah, if my webcam gets hacked, it would definitely show me in very uncompromising positions, doing silly, embarrassing and ridiculous stuff, and looking ugly and awful. Not that I care. I mean, who am I to get hacked? I’m not a celebrity. I’m not even pretty or attractive enough to get a stalker. Besides, I don’t have “secrets”, like nude selfies or sex videos in my laptop. Although, I have to admit that I don’t wear a bra when I’m at home and I’m usually wearing almost nothing when I’m in my room. I’m a very normal woman. Or at least, that’s what I would like to think.

The movie definitely hit home and touched a nerve. We have all become slaves to our gadgets. Technology made us very dependent on these gadgets that we spent almost every waking hour with them around us. We can hardly imagine our lives without them. It’s the sad reality of modern life. I like how Emma is the perfect example of a typical millenial. She takes pictures and videos of almost everything, takes her laptop everywhere and her phone is like a part of her body. I don’t know if I’m still considered a “millenial”, but I could definitely see myself in her. It might be unrealistic for some, but it is socially relevant, in my opinion.

The editing and the camera angles, which were shot exclusively from the perspective of Emma’s devices, were superb as well. All throughout the movie, you could feel a sense of foreboding as the “ratter” gets bolder and pays Emma’s apartment a couple of visits. There was that creepy, spine-tingling feeling that someone is watching you. Even when she was not home, he would shift to her phone’s camera to track her and watch her. You could feel his anger and jealousy when Emma hooks up with Michael; his thrill and excitement whenever Emma takes a shower or walks around half-naked in her house. There was even that sick, perverted scene when Emma was “pleasuring herself” and the ratter was watching through her phone’s camera. It was revolting and terrifying at the same time.

The last few moments of the film were just gripping and it got me on the edge of my seat. I was practically screaming and repeatedly saying “Oh my god” under my breath. It was horrifying! I mean, I’ve seen so many horror and suspense flicks, but this was definitely in the top 3. I just hated the fact that the ending was a cliffhanger. Emma was finally attacked by the ratter, while she was Skype-ing with her mom (who immediately called 911 and desperately called for her daughter), and that was it. The movie just ended it there. Normally, I like those kinds of endings because it leaves a lot to my imagination. But in this movie, I badly wanted to know what happened to Emma. Was she raped and killed? Just raped? Just killed? Kidnapped and never seen again? It drove me insane.
Now, I know a lot of people would say “it’s just a freakin’ movie” or “it won’t happen to you”. I believe that that’s exactly the kind of thing that would get some people killed. With our fast-paced world and the advancement of modern technology, especially computer, phones and the Internet, I do believe that ANYTHING is possible. Even ordinary, unimportant, humans like me could get hacked and could fall victim to a ratter. I contemplated putting on a sticker or something to cover my laptop’s webcam, just in case it gets hacked. Every now and then I would glance at my webcam to make sure the light isn’t on. I don’t get scared, but I do get paranoid sometimes. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing to believe in stuff like these. We all need to be alert because we’ll never know what might happen in the future. Hackers are also advancing and progressing, getting better, along with technology. So yeah, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When I think about it, if someone is watching me, they would probably get bored to death. I’m a couch potato and when I’m not writing (typing), I’m just watching movies and TV shows all day long. The most interesting or amusing thing they would see me do is walk around in my underwear, floss my teeth, eat like a pig, fart, burp, pick my nose or pop a pimple. So, yep, disgusting stuff, but nothing that would humiliate me or destroy my life. Okay, well, there is something that I do, that I’m sure everyone does too, every now and then, but I’m not comfortable sharing it online.
All in all, the movie “Ratter” sent a simple, yet powerful message and it definitely left a huge impression on me. I just wish people wouldn’t take technology for granted and try their best to take extra safety measures to ensure that their privacy isn’t violated. But then again, I think we all lost our privacy (or some part of it) ever since we started using social media, and in general, the world wide web.

So I did a little digging up and found out that “Ratter” was based on a short film from Germany, entitled “Webcam”, which, in turn, was based on real events.

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