Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
A group of students sharing a ride to a party end up stranded in the middle of the desert. Soon, some beastie looking dude that smells really bad starts taking them out one by one.
Is it good movie?
I’m impressed. Seriously… I’m very impressed. Reeker has some very clichéd elements including the basic students stranded in the middle of nowhere to start. Yet I enjoyed the ride full on, and I actually gave two shites about these guys. First off, the script by Dave Payne who also produced and directed, treats the characters with a certain amount of respect. Sure they do some dumb things, it’s a horror movie, but they are still likable. You have Devon Gummersall who is blind and has a heightened sense of smell. He is an interesting character with the added plus of being a strong performance. And the typical a-hole named Trip (Scott Whyte), but you aren’t necessarily rooting for the dude to die. He also gives a nice perfomance, as did Tina Ullman, Derek Richardson and Arielle Kebbel. This is a good cast given workable dialogue with character development. And talk about classic… Michael Ironside also stars as a dude looking for his missing wife in the desert. Guess what? He’s damn good.
Now what really surprised me was the fact that the twist ending snuck up on me. I can usually pick up a twist pretty damn easily, but for some reason, I was much too involved in the flick to look for it. But throughout, I was constantly wondering why the drug dealer Eric Mabius (who is also good) keeps showing up. Many things that happened didn’t seem to add up. But what Dave Payne manages to do is make it all work. After my viewing, I kept thinking back to early on in the film and it all made sense. In fact, in kind of ticked me off that I didn’t see it. But for a movie about a bunch of stranded students being murdered off in fun gory ways, it runs a little deeper then slasher in the desert. And what is also surprising is that I have seen similar movies that include this type of ending, yet it still caught me. Most importantly, I bought it and was entertained all the way.
So yes, the script and the actors and some pretty impressive looking direction and cinematography all work, my minor complaints would lie with the similarities to other, like minded movies. In the end I did call foul because of some of the similarities with other films. Yet it is such a damn creepy movie with a very atmospheric feel that it didn’t bother me too much. Because Dave Payne seems to understand horror and has a nice touch adding some playfully humorous, yet still scary visuals. He really thought this one through. Truthfully, it still surprised me and made for one helluva watch. There is nothing that reeks about Reeker… sorry about that, but it had to be said.
Video / Audio
Video: A fine 16:9 Widescreen transfer that brings out the atmospheric look of the film.
Audio: Also quite good is the Dolby Digital 5.1 which compliments the sound of screaming well.
Here is the problem with the disc. All we get is a The Making of Reeker (11:14) which is fine and it was cool seeing all the actors talk about making the film but that was it. It was also cool to see “Brian Krakow” again… damn I loved My So-Called Life.
After that, you have a point and click Photo Gallery and a couple of Trailers for “The Roost” and “The Curse of El Charro”. No commentary??? That stinks.
An above average slasher thriller that takes advantage of a creepy atmosphere, strong direction and actors who can act. It had me from the opening sequence and kept me grooving with characters that felt much more real than they needed to be. Credit Dave Payne for really putting in effort to make a strong horror film. Credit a strong cast that ups the ante when it comes to feeling sympathy for the victims. And if you like twists, you may very well have a blast with this one. I highly recommend Reeker, yet I would have recommended it much higher with a better Special Features section.