Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

One of the reasons I picked up this movie ‘Reeker’ from back in 20-05 is because there is sequel out that I was about to watch, but I figured it would make some sense to watch the original first. Now that I’ve seen the original ‘Reeker’, finding it a reasonably entertaining little horror movie, I am left wondering exactly how this sequel business is suppose to work since this entire film is pretty much built upon the twist at the end. I suppose I’ll watch the sequel just to see what, if anything, director David Payne will be able to do pass the story down to his sequel considering that we all probably know right off the bat what the twist is.

‘Reeker’ gets off to quite the rousing start as a family and their dog are wheeling down a deserted highway when their minivan crashes into Bambi’s mom splattering her all over the place. Next thing we know there’s an evil mist in the air killing everything and everybody, including Spot.

With those losers nice and dead it’s time to meet our randy young adults who are bound to be checking out in short order. Just as a thought, why don’t one of you aspiring horror filmmakers make a horror movie that takes place in a nursing home so we can watch some old people die as opposed to the typical young horny teenagers. You can further flip the script by allowing them to have stellar cell phone reception but make sure they’re so technologically deficient that they don’t know to use cell phones. There’s goes a free one for you so get to work. ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’ doesn’t count.

Anyways our young people of interest are loaded up in an old Jeep Wagoner owned by the South African Gretchen (Tina Illman) who has final girl written all over her. The reasons for our suspicions that Tina is our Final Girl are numerous and include the fact

that she is one of only two females in this group and final boys are pretty damn rare, she’s spunky, and she’s not as cute as Cookie (Arielle Kebbel), the other female in our crew who is just north of retarded and will no doubt be having sex in this movie, something final girls rarely get to do. There’s also the ecstasy stealing Trip (Scott White), Jack the Blind Dude (Devon Gummersall) and Nelson the Generic Dude (Derek Richardson). So Gretchen gets all pissed off at Trip for bringing drugs on the trip and decides to take him back to this Diner they stopped at earlier only to find it deserted with an awful stench in the air. Weirdness now abounds as their car has run out of gas, nobody seems to be alive on the planet earth, and their only way out seems to come from a weird dude in an RV played by the legendary Michael Ironside. Of a more pressing issue is that the evil blurry stank mist has returned and it is killing our kids one by one, and though we will know him as The Reeker, he might as well be riding a pale horse because there doesn’t seem to be anyway to stop him as he is like the wind and seems to be completely invincible. The only question, as the death toll rises, is why is this happening?

‘Reeker’ is certainly a decent enough horror yarn as director Payne makes the best use of his deserted atmosphere and is able to create a reasonable amount of tension and dread within this atmosphere. After that pretty explosive first scene, as the film comes down to it’s final conclusion however, ‘Reeker’ is fairly run of the mill, filled with the usual horror clichés and crutches that we’ve become accustomed to over the years such as shadowy characters running across the screen, false bumps in the night and lots and lost of scared and confused young adults. However despite the fact that the bulk of the movie is completely rudimentary, again, Payne has paced his film logically and solidly enough that it does hold your interest and though it might not keep you on the edge of your seat, you will want to stick around to find out what the hell is going on.

And it’s this ‘what in the hell is going’ angle that makes Reeker’ a success and also part of its problem. After the big reveal of the twist, everything that is happening pretty much falls in place, at least as far as horror movies go, meaning that one could question why any of this is happening in the first place if you really wanted to get technical about the whole thing. But that aside, the script is clever enough and smart enough that it makes the twist a satisfying conclusion and as such it holds up quite well as you go back in your minds eye replaying events that have occurred earlier in the film, and for the most part it all works together quite well. The problem, on the other hand, is that since we are completely in the dark about why anything is happening, you pretty much know that there has to be a twist and you watch the film with the thought ‘okay, when’s the twist coming?’ This takes away from it just a bit since you're sitting there waiting for it. And since your waiting for it I was wishing The Reeker would just hurry up and polish off these kids so we could get to it, since it obviously has to be there. The best of these kinds of stories sneak up on you, and though there’s no way I came close to figuring out the twist in ‘Reeker’ I think because I knew there absolutely had to be one it took away from it a bit.

Regardless, ‘Reeker’ was still a cleverly done lower budget horror movie that had a lot of good things working in its favor such as the eerie atmosphere, a pretty damned horrific monster and an effective conclusion. Still, I’m wondering how they’re going to handle this sequel, but I’ll watch it and find out and report.

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