Panther Ridge concerns the fateful night a young acolyte descends into the BDSM underground…and what starts as a fairly rote bondage and knife play scenario, soon spins massively out of control into a level of violence that goes beyond mere sexual gratification and straight into “Holy fuck, you people are out of your goddamned minds” in the blink of an eye (and flash of the blade).
Coming from Writer/Director Ryan Swantek, Panther Ridge is an enigmatic and shockingly violent short subject. Clocking in at just over six minutes, the film introduces us to both a novice dominatrix, and her seasoned mentor, not to mention a well dressed man that seems to be guiding the operation…but who he is, who is watching the live feed (the entire event is being filmed by an obsidian camera that almost becomes a character itself, besides being a rather ominous phallic symbol), and other questions are never answered…which could be frustrating if handled poorly, but here it leaves the viewer wanting to see more, if just to find out why this sadistic show exists.
As for the negatives, if you are squeamish about unflinching torture you may want to look for your fright flick kicks elsewhere, because this one pulls no punches (literally)…and the violence is ever escalating and presented in a detached, almost alien way which heightens the horror at hand immensely.
Bottom line, I hope we get to see more from this dark, demented universe…it certainly won’t be an easy watch, but it’ll be a damn interesting one!