The Rake vs. Dogman review

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By SteveIrwinFan96   |   
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Hello, everyone. With the Rake vs. Dogman weekend over with, it’s time for a full on review of the original five part story. Keep in mind that, like the DVD covers, there will be spoilers. If you haven’t listened to all five parts, please do so before reading this. With that out of the way, let’s begin the review with the plot:

The Plot: Bounty hunter step-siblings Travis Peck and Murray Caplan are assigned by Sheriff Ben August to hunt down a mysterious pale creature responsible for the recent disappearances of the pets of the area. After some persuasion, Murray and Travis agree to go hunt the creature. Elsewhere, brothers Jason and Ronnie Ford set out to hunt whatever killed their seven horses with their friends the Caulfield brothers. However, when night falls, they discover that the animals that killed their horses are no ordinary predators. They’re giant wolves that can stand on their hind legs that quickly take out the entire hunting party, save for Jason. Later, Murray finds two lost hikers, Janine Lynn and Holly Davis, and brings them back to their camp. That night, Travis brings back Jason, who tells the group of the attack. When Travis goes looking for the wolves, three officers, Calvin Barclay, Henry Keller and the psychotic Nate Dixon, arrive at the camp, with the last of the three holding a grudge against Murray for blinding him in one eye in a bar years ago. After the wolves attack the camp, the survivors, excluding Travis who sacrifices himself to save them, they find themselves caught in a ranger’s station as the pack of wolves attack the heavily damaged building. However, as the story progresses, Murray and the others come to learn that the wolves and the pale monster, dubbed the creeper, isn’t the biggest threat to them. It may actually be Dixon, who will stop at nothing to make Murray pay for blinding him. The survivors are now in a fight for survival as they have to last against Dixon, the wolves, the creeper and a battle between the two monsters.

As you can see, that’s a lot to cover in one story. Thankfully, it’s a five-part story, so it’s extremely well-paced. To start things off, the idea is easily one of the most original ideas I’ve seen in a while. When both monsters are brought up, they usually have different opponents. The Dogman is often paired with Bigfoot while the Rake is often paired with the Dover Demon, the Chupacabra or the Slender Man. In fact, the first match up is how this story originally came into existence.  

In the comment section of “Candyman vs. Slender Man: Legends Reborn”, one of the commenters asked if there’s a chance if Tim would write another “vs.” story. They suggested Dogman vs. Bigfoot, to which Tim thought was a great idea. However, in an interview with one of the narrators, Margbot, Tim said that his issue with the idea is that the two monsters are too similar, which I can agree with. Both monsters are essentially just larger versions of real life animals, with Dogman being wolves and Bigfoot being gorillas. On top of that, they’re larger than humans, covered in fur, rumored to travel in groups and will attack humans if needed.

That being the case, Tim went around seeing what other monster he could use. He found the story of the Rake and decided that it would be a great advisory for the Dogman. On top of all that, no one has thought to put the monsters in the same story together. With that, he formed a story around a bounty hunter named Murray, with the Rake actually being a representation of her own personal demons of dealing with the fact that she’s partially responsible for her own mother’s death. From the length of the story, you can tell Tim had a lot of ideas he wanted for the story and they all fit into place very well.

Now, on to the characters. I guess the first place to start with the key player here, Murray. Having listened to the story, adding to Eden’s voice acting in the role, one might compare her to the character of Revy from “Black Lagoon”, with both being tough women who aren’t ones for peaceful negotiation. I can see the similarities, even if I haven’t watched the anime myself. Helping the comparison is the fact that Eden did say on Twitter that she has cosplayed as Revy before. Murray is easily one of the most memorable creepypasta protagonists I’ve seen in a long time. At first glance, she seems like she’s the stereotypical tough protagonist that won’t learn anything by the time the story ends. But, as the story progresses, she becomes humbler as she’s willing to put her life on the line for Janine and Holly the same way Travis did for her. That just adds to the depth she has as a character. She seems like one who will gladly get into fights with anyone, but that can be attributed to the fact that she has an uneasy past due to her relationship with her mother and the fact that she wanted to be more like her brother.

Speaking of Travis, for the short time he’s there, is essentially the opposite of his step sibling. If Murray is the brawn of the operation, Travis is easily the brains. He’s a lot more peaceful, a clear thinker and an excellent strategist. After serving in the military, one can see why Travis has the skills he has. Of course, probably his most memorable trait is his willingness to put his life on the line for others. Honestly, next to Holly, he’s probably the most likable character in the story. Which, of course, makes his death all the more tragic in part 2. That said, his death does further Murray as a character, as she becomes more selfless and does the same thing her brother would do: save the life of a complete stranger.

Now, onto the human villain of the story, Officer Dixon. Even though the story features probably two of the most dangerous monsters in fiction, he’s probably the most evil thing in the entire story. His introduction alone shows that, but he gets worse. He killed Barclay to save himself, though he claims the sacrifice for the group, he killed Janine in cold blood, he killed Jason in part 4 and killed his own partner in the exact same part of the story, albeit earlier in the story in a flashback. I’d argue he’s probably the greatest creepypasta villain, more than other “killer” characters like Jeff. He’s just despicable and he uses his power as an officer to continue with these deeds. One could argue that a human villain wasn’t needed in a monster related story, which was a criticism of “Jurassic World” with the character of Hobs. I get where this criticism comes from, as a monster story normally has the monsters be the central antagonist, but I do applaud both Rake vs. Dogman and “Jurassic World” for being more creative than just being simple monster stories and having human villains.

I would say more about the other characters, but I feel there’s not much that can be said about them. I can’t say much about Barclay as he’s only around for Part 2. From what we saw of him, he seemed likable enough, especially since he was willing to try to put Dixon in his place. Keller, same thing. Granted, he did last more than one part, but still. August is there for one part and only reappears in the last part in a non-voice role as his original voice actor, DrCreepenVanPasta, was the narrator for parts 3-5 as the first two parts were narrated by MrScarecrow, who could no longer narrate due to personal issues. Janine is sort of the same case, but for different reasons. In addition to being Holly’s best friend, she does stick up for Murray, reveals the relationship between her and Holly, which includes the fact that Holly is going blind. Beyond that, there’s not much to her. Though, there is one scene in particular in Part 3 that I did not enjoy because of her, but I’ll get to that later.

Speaking of Holly, I do think that her and Travis are easily the most likable characters in the story. Despite being deaf and going blind, she does all of the following: manages to help Murray in fighting the Rake, bandage up Jason, Murray and Keller, lead the wolves up to the top of the ranger’s station, shoot one of them, and encourage Murray to keep going despite her own self-doubts.  Even with her own two weaknesses, she’s still selfless and does her best to help the others in the story, which is very similar to Travis. That being the case, you can imagine that it was a pleasure for me to see her being one of the only survivors.

As for Jason, again, there’s not much to him, but he does accomplish some pretty impressive stuff despite his injured leg. His transformation from a weakly coward to a no-nonsense person is one of the best parts of the story. Granted, him being afraid is understandable, given the circumstances. In addition to having an injured leg, he lost his brother, his friends, he’s with a group that don’t really care for him, save for Holly and maybe Keller, and he’s being chased by giant wolves. His situation is only made worse when Holly has to amputate his leg, but it’s soon after that moment that he stands up to Dixon and actually shoots him, allowing Murray and Holly to escape. In all honesty, he’s probably the third most likable character. For me, at least.

With the characters out of the way, I guess it’s time to start talking about each part of the story. Before I do, you’ll notice that the story does borrow from the 2002 horror-action film “Dog Soldiers”, directed by Neil Marshall. Obviously, the story shares the similarity of having giant, wolf-like monsters as the story’s monsters. But there are a few other similarities to the film. One being the scene in the ranger’s station, which is similar to the scene in “Dog Soldiers” where the soldiers do their best to fend off the werewolves, using whatever they can. Another similarity is Jason’s last line to the wolves is almost a word for word sentence to Spoon’s last line to the werewolves. If you’ve seen “Dog Soldiers”, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

On top of that, one could see the similarity of both having a human antagonist. In the case of “Dog Soldiers”, Ryan was the human antagonist, and was just about as despicable as Dixon. For one, he shoots a dog in cold blood and fails Cooper because he wouldn’t do it himself. Probably the worst thing he does is use Wells’ platoon as bait for the werewolves, which he reveals later on to Cooper and Wells. Thankfully, like Dixon, he does get his in the end. He transforms into a werewolf, and is later killed by Cooper at the film’s end. Beyond that, I personally don’t see any similarities between the characters of the film and the creepypasta. I’d say Cooper is like Murray, but he already seems to be selfless and didn’t have to be taught that through someone else putting their lives on the line to save him.

In the same interview with Margbot, Tim also revealed that another inspiration for the story is James Cameron’s “Aliens”. I can certainly see the similarities, like having a tough, no-nonsense female protagonist taking on monsters that seem out of her league. Also, there’s a line in Part 2 that’s very similar to the famous “Game over” line from the film uttered by Jason. On top of that, I do see some similarities between the Rake and the Xenomorphs, with both being skinny, reptilian-like monsters that have formed a colony that also happen to fight larger opponents, which are the Predators for the xenomorphs and the wolves for the Rakes. In fact, I think the final battle between the two groups as well elements of the story could work in another Alien vs. Predator film, with a few changes to fit those two monsters.

Now, on to the five parts of the story. Rather than going over what is featured in each part, I’ll go over my thoughts of each part, as I have no problems with Part 1, but I do have at least one issue with the others. I’ll explain. In my opinion, Part 1 is the best part of the story. Not just for getting the story started, but it doesn’t have any issues for me. There weren’t any parts that I felt brought the story down at all. It set the tone, introduced us to the characters, gave us a pretty intense first attack by the wolves and ended on probably one of the best of cliff hangers I’ve heard. So, that being the case, Part 1 is probably the best part of the story for me. Not that the others are bad. Far from it. But they have at least one scene that does come off as a bit jarring for me.

For Part 2, I think you all know what scene I’m talking about that was jarring: Dixon’s introduction. I get what Tim was going for, which was to establish Dixon as a complete and utter scumbag, but I feel that including the kitten wasn’t needed. There are other ways that could’ve been established. Not to mention, it dragged on for way too long and you can bet that if this ever does get a film adaptation, people will more than likely walk out of the theater. But, beyond that, the rest of this part of the story worked in my opinion, with Travis’s sacrifice being my favorite moment. Everything from the emotions from him and Murray, to the music from “Dog Soldiers”, it worked excellently in my opinion. I do think the dialogue at the campfire between the three girls was a bit awkward, but I’m glad it was there, as it gave more character to Murray. What I mean by this is that she does have a decent sense of humor, rather than just being sarcastic throughout the story.

Part 3 is the longest part of the story, and probably the most memorable part if for no other reason than the siege on the ranger’s station by the wolves. That being said, there is a bit in this that I cannot stand at all: Janine yelling at Jason. I’m just going to go ahead and say this; this part is my least favorite part of the story. Not only is it jarring to listen to, but I feel it was way too harsh on Jason when he reasonably defended himself. Plus, the story keeps acting like all of this is his fault, when it really isn’t. I know as an audience member I’m not supposed to be playing the blame game, but I’m sorry. This area of the story just didn’t sit right with me. Plus, while I did feel bad that Janine died, it was more for Holly and Murray rather than Janine herself. What I mean is that her yelling at Jason and saying that they should’ve left him there to die, it really made her unlikable for me, so I only felt bad when she died because of the people that cared for her. I know that sounds heartless, but I’m sorry. It’s just how I feel. Also, and not that many of you will see this as justifiable in my thoughts on Janine’s death, but a lot of the commenters, from what I read, found her annoying. I didn’t really get what they meant up until that point as I found her as a pretty decent character.

Despite this jarring part of the story, Part 3 does make up for that part for not only the siege on the ranger’s station, but for having the first part to feature the title fight. I think Tim knew that he’d have to have a fight in one of the later parts of the story, and this was probably the best part to do it. I found the fight to be really impressive, and I was surprised that the Rake actually won. When you compare the two monsters, you’d think the Dogman would win, but the Rake held its own and uses its own fighting method to win. So, despite having my least favorite part of the story, it has two very awesome parts of the story, one of which is probably the best monster fight of the entire story.

Part 4 is an interesting case. One thing you’ll notice that it’s very flashback heavy. The opening scene, much like Part 3, opened with a flashback concerning Dixon. It actually happened soon after that scene in the bar. With that said, I really am having trouble finding what purpose Tara serves. I tried finding different purposes she could have. One was giving the information to Dixon, but that could’ve easily have been Barclay, as he was established to be the oldest of the three officers. I also thought it could’ve been to establish the torture chamber, but from what we know of Dixon, this being mentioned in the next part wouldn’t have come as a surprise. I don’t think Tara’s useless per say, but I really don’t see what purpose she served compared to the other characters.

As for the other flashback, I feel this one was better handled and worked better within a story context. It established the relationship Murray had with her mother, which was that she quit college to become more like Travis, and that her mother was already near-death due to her smoking habits. Murray’s words only made it worse, and this furthers Murray’s development as a character. I also feel sorry for Murray during this moment, as not only has she lost her brother, but her mother as well. To make matters worse is that she’s partially responsible. I really liked this moment, even if Murray didn’t really come across as likable during the flash backs. Though, to be fair, here, it makes sense. As for the rest of Part 4, I liked it. I liked Jason sacrificing himself to save the two girls, the fight with the Rake, and the establishment of Tim’s other stories like Legends Reborn, “Darcy”, “The Black Stag”, and “The Devil’s Picnic”. Though, I do wonder why the Serpent Man was mentioned, as I don’t think that’s one of Tim’s stories. That being said, it was a nice reference.

Part 5 is the big part. Despite Part 3 being longer, I feel as though the stakes were raised more here. Murray and Holly are on the run, nearly defenseless in the woods, running away from Dixon, the wolves and the Rake. I did enjoy this part a lot, but there is one part that I’m going back and forth on. That would be the final fight between the wolf pack and the Rake colony. When I first listened to it, I felt the fight was a bit underwhelming, but I couldn’t quite explain it. Having listened to it again, I think it’s a good final battle, but I do have to admit it’s not as good as the first battle. Also, I do find it a missed opportunity to not have the alpha wolf fight the alpha Rake. Though the ending was satisfying, I do think that could’ve helped that last fight out a bit more. That’s just me.

On that note, when I originally listened to it, I didn’t get the point of having Brianna in the story. For one, there’s an established situation for her, which I didn’t see as necessary. It was the last part of the story and I knew we weren’t going to be with Brianna for long. Having said that, knowing the context of the character, which is that Tim has a real-life cousin with the same name with a black German Shephard named Karma, I do think it works. As for the stinger for “The Burning Man 2”, I thought it was interesting, but I feel like it could’ve been its own video. Though, to be fair, if Unit was going to do that, it’d have to be closer to when that story will be released and it’s anyone’s guess. Not to mention, I feel like having it as its own video as Eden played Corrine in that story, and she obviously played Murray in this. I feel as though if they were separate videos, I think Eden could’ve reprised that role. Again, that’s just me.

While on the topic of Eden, I guess I should mention the narrators and how they did in the story. For the most part, I really did like all their performances. In fact, it’s Tim’s stories that have made me fans of these narrators to the point where Eden and Unit are probably my favorite narrators in the creepypasta community. That being said, there are some issues I have with the narrations. For one, and this was pointed out in the comment section of Part 4, Murray yells way too much. In some cases, I get why it’s needed, but in others, I don’t think it is. In fact, and this may be a problem on my end, but when I turned the audio to the lowest point before muting it, I could still hear her. Again, that might be my ear buds being extremely good. Also, the game over line was, for me, a bit awkward. It’s a nice reference to “Aliens”, but I feel Unit’s delivery of the line didn’t sound right. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about that just didn’t sound right.

Other than that, I didn’t have any other issues with the narrations. All the narrators did a great job and I look forward to their work in the future. By the way, if you haven’t already, please do listen to Eden’s narration of “The Disappearance of Ashley Morgan”. It’s easily her best narration besides playing Murray and Corrine. There are other parts of the story that, while I didn’t outright dislike, I did find a bit repetitive. One example of this is the constant use of similes. Some work, like those to emphasize the impact of something, but others like the line of “like a small child would clutch their bear while lost in the super market”, or something to that effect, did get repetitive. Granted, I could just chalk that up to Tim’s style of writing, and fair enough if it is.

The last complaint I have, and honestly, it’s more of a nitpick, but I really missed the transitions in Parts 4 and 5. The transition of images is the one thing that’s unique to Tim’s stories, which happened in Legends Reborn and in “The Black Stag”. I like this as it gives them a uniqueness compared to other creepypasta videos. Parts 1 through 3 had this and I really liked this aspect of the videos. Why this stopped for the last two parts isn’t known. I could give some guesses, but I feel like they’d be completely off the mark. I just feel it would be a nice continuation of the story to have these other images, but, for some reason, the images that were used were just images of a forest. Again, this is a nitpick, so it’s really not a criticism of the story itself. It’s just something that I personally missed.

With all that said, despite my complaints, I really did enjoy this story. It’s well written, well narrated, well told and well edited. It takes a very original premise, even though it takes inspiration from two very famous horror films, which is good as those are two very inspiring films. In terms of Tim’s story, this is probably my 4th favorite of his. The first would be Candyman vs. Slender Man, second would be “The Burning Man” and the third would be “The Black Stag”. I don’t know what it is, but those three really stick with me more than Tim’s other works. Again, none of his stories are bad. I just think those three stick out from the rest as does this one.

On the note of inspirations, it’s no secret that Tim has inspired me as a writer in terms of horror stories. Tim stated in the interview with Margbot that, even though he enjoys writing “vs” stories, he’d rather not become the “vs.” only writer. I can see why, as he probably doesn’t want that to take up his entire library of stories. Me personally, I have written a lot of “vs.” stories, one of which is already on here, that being Jason vs. The Jersey Devil. Over the past few breaks, I’ve written a few others. These would be “Freddy vs. Candyman”, “Slender Man vs. Kuchisake-Onna,” “Bigfoot vs. Goatman”, my own version of “Dracula vs. Frankenstein”, a revised version of my own story “Owlman vs. Mothman” and “Michael vs. Jeff”. I may or may not post any of these around Halloween, but I’ll discuss the details of those in another post.

All in all, “The Rake vs. Dogman” is easily one of my favorite, not just creepypastas, but stories in general. In fact, I say this is honestly too good to be a creepypasta, given the modern state of the genre. But, like a lot of other writers, Tim proves that the genre isn’t dead just yet and there are still good writers who just like writing horror stories for fun. As Tim said, and this is a message to all writers, write for yourself. Write because you like doing it, and don’t worry about what anyone else has to say. Now, obviously means that you shouldn’t try, because you should. I always go back and re-read stories I’ve written and change whatever needs to be changed and to any other writers, please do this as well.

I really have enjoyed Tim’s work thus far, and I am looking forward to future projects. One that’s in production right now is Merlin the Merc, which, if I’m not mistaken, is the story of a wizard mercenary or something along those lines. There’s also “The Burning Man 2”, which, like Merlin the Merc, doesn’t have a release date just yet. Also, there will be another “vs” story in the future called “Bigfoot vs. Chimera”, which is another interesting and original idea. Also, much like Candyman vs. Slender Man, the story does come from an idea Unit himself had. Speaking of which, I wish all the narrators the best of luck in their videos and I would like to congratulate Eden on her recent move.

One more thing I should mention is the idea of this story getting turned into a film. Well, there’s a slight chance that it could. You see, another one of Tim’s projects is writing a screenplay based on his story “Wraith”, which is getting turned into a short film that’ll most likely be on Red Box in the near future. It’s currently in production right now, so it’ll be a while before we see the film. But, since that’s getting turned into a film, I think there’s a chance this could as well. You all know about the Rake vs. Dogman weekend I started on here, in which I posted a trilogy of posters and DVD covers for a film series based on the story directed by Neil Marshall and starring Katharine Isabelle as Murray.

Obviously, the cast and crew I had is just a fan thing, and more than likely won’t happen. I could see Tony Todd, Katharine and maybe Michael Rooker and Jason Momoa getting on board for such a project, but I doubt you could get the other actors I selected. Same goes for the crew. I myself actually wrote three screenplays for a film trilogy, which didn’t turn out as long as I expected. You see, the original story, in written form, is 200 hundred pages, but a lot of that includes things that wouldn’t be in a film screenplay. I did make some changes as there are things that wouldn’t translate well to film, and the results are three screenplays that are little over an hour. I was a bit hesitant about this, but because the recently released “Dunkirk” was only 110 minutes long, I feel more confident in their length. If I can upload the PDF files on here, I’ll gladly post them so that they can be read. I know there are independent studios out there that would gladly take the project, and I’d send the screen plays to them, but given how I could potentially be dealing with a scammer, I feel like posting them online for anyone to read would be the best course of action.

Didn’t mean to show off at the last bit there, but I feel as though I should mention it with the news that “Wraith” will be turned into a film. Anyways, I highly recommend the Rake vs. Dogman series, and though I had a few issues here and there, I really did enjoy it and I look forward to the future works of Tim, Unit, Eden and all the other narrators involved. Hope I didn’t come off as too harsh in my criticisms, but all of this was just my honest thoughts. I hope you all enjoyed reading this and I hope you enjoy the story. Just be warned there are some parts that you may feel uncomfortable listening to, but given that’s the job of a horror story, I say it works in the end. Thanks again for reading and I will be posting my other “vs.” story ideas and my own personal thoughts on them soon enough. Thanks again for reading.
© 2017 - 2020 SteveIrwinFan96
My full review for the entire Rake vs. Dogman story. This is probably my longest review on here, as I had a lot to cover. On the note of the other "vs." stories, I'll be giving full details for those later, most likely some time later this week. Also, if anyone could help me post the scripts on here, that would be very helpful. If not, if there are other websites I could use, please do link them. One thing I forgot to note in the story kind of goes along with how similar Murray is to Revy. In "Candyman vs. Slender Man", for whatever reason, I kept picturing the character of Akira Fudo aka Devilman from the crossover with Cyborg 009 as Eric. Don't know why, but the character model seems to match how I imagine Eric to look. Anyways, I do reccommend this story and I hope I explained my thoughts in the review well enough. Keep in mind of spoilers for not just this, but "Dog Soldiers" as well. Hope you enjoyed reading and I wish the best of luck to all those involved with the story. For anyone wondering about the thumbnail, it's based on the original thumbnail for Parts 1 and 2, until the brilliant art from Mr. X Dreams was used for them and the other parts, except for part 3, which had art from Alex Van Beest. The logo is the one used in the trilogy of posters/DVD covers and used in the thumbnail for part 3. 
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