Friday, July 06, 2007

Reeker (2005)

Scrappy little thing about a group of lost travelers holed up at an abandoned truck stop; eventually, they're besieged by a mysterious murderous phantom who, um, don't smell so good. It's a film of modest ambition -- director Dave Payne neither needs nor wants to change the current default template for direct-to-video horror (a bunch of people in a remote location picked off by something evil, a la Friday the 13th or The Evil Dead). Rather, he's interested in how to make an effective movie within the parameters of that stock situation. Early on, the strict adherence to standard character types (the Jerk, the Spacey Gal, the Final Girl, the Sympathetic Cripple) grates, especially whenever Trip (the Jerk) mocks blind guy Jack or natters on about the stash of Ecstasy he's stolen from a twitchy former doctor (a cameoing Eric Mabius). Gathers steam as it goes, though, with some surprising no- budget atmosphere, decent FX work on the title beastie and a couple interesting character wrinkles (like Trip turning out to be a resourceful thinker underneath the assholeishness). Plus, it pulls off A Certain Ending, an ending that almost never works, simply by not overtly telegraphing it, which makes you wonder why more people interested in That Certain Ending aren't more sidelong about it. Not world-changing, but a nice oasis of promise in the midst of the sea of dross that comprises the direct-to-video horror landscape.

Grade: B-

3 Comments:

Anonymous Scott said...

The ending was better than the one in "Dead End," but that's not saying very much...at all.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

That's because just about everything is better than the horribly telegraphed ending of Dead End. Really, though, I thought Payne pulled it off well -- I had forgotten the inciting incident long before it became relevant. He didn't insist upon it early on, and that's why it worked for me.

10:48 AM  
Blogger David said...

silly hilly billys willy not makey money.

7:42 PM  

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