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Horror - Reeker

Horror DVD
Devon Gummersall, Derek Richardson, Tina Illman, Michael Ironside
Directed and written by Dave Payne
VVS Films 2006
92 minutes

Reeker is one of those horror films that leads you one way, only to later lead you in another direction. Like most successful horror story plots, the mystery surrounding who's killing who is kept alive throughout the movie. The premise of Reeker isn't anything new. A bunch of college students are going to a rave party in the desert and they end up stranded miles away from anything, and someone, or something, is killing everybody. What was original for me in this story was the surprising ending, which I can't talk about without ruining the film for you.

In the first scene of Reeker, we are lead to believe that the "reeker" is "something" that randomly attacks motorists on a desert highway. Right at the beginning, we are treated to a nice gory scene, which is surprisingly well done for a movie without a blockbuster's budget. Once the teens get stranded at the creepy and abandoned Halfway Motel, we get the impression that the killer might be a desert trash crackhead as the character of Nelson says in the movie. Since their rave is located in area 52 (I guess the rights to area 51 were already taken), could it be some government bio experiment gone wrong?

I think the best description for this movie was given in its trailer, which is featured on the Reeker DVD's bonuses. It goes like this: "What happens in the brief moment between life and death? Do you see life in a flash of memory? Is there a brilliant light, or is the truth something much darker?" These and many other questions are what this nicely plotted horror film explores.

The acting is what makes us identify to the characters. At first we think they're just the stupid teens we are used to seeing in horror movies, and frankly we wish a few of them will have a horrible gory death. As the story progresses though, we discover that Trip, Cookie, Gretchen, Jack and Nelson all have some good in them and we want them to succeed. Michael Ironside also gives some credibility to the film in the role of Henry, a confused man looking for his wife by driving his RV around the last spot where he remembers seeing her.

I was surprised to read some of the other reviews published about this horror DVD as many of them were quite negative. I personally liked the Reeker DVD, but as any film, it does have a few flaws. What may discourage some horror movie viewers is the lack of scary moments and the fact that most of the horror takes place near the end of the movie. It will probably be enjoyed more by viewers who like suspense than those who like seeing original ways to dismember a character.

The writers of the movie included the following line in the end credits: "If you're a film reviewer and you're uninspired enough to use the phrase "this movie stinks" or any other pun/riff on the title - HA HA HA." I'll let you decide if they were right or not on that one. Since most of the fun in this horror movie is guessing what the Reeker is, I'd recommend the film more for a rental than a purchase, although I must admit I enjoyed watching the movie again as some elements of the story are clearer the second time around. Overall, I found Reeker to be an intelligent horror film, which even has its share of humor and irony, something we don't see often in pure slasher movies.

Vincent Lemire

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