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Overall Rating

Awesome: 30.61%
Worth A Look38.78%
Average: 18.37%
Pretty Bad: 2.04%
Total Crap: 10.2%

3 reviews, 31 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"A familiar old campfire story, only told with a lot of color and craft."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: When you're dealing with a low-budget horror movie there are two distinct flavors of "familiar" -- there's the "Wow these guys have no creativity whatsoever and they're just ripping off 19 other horror movies" familiar and there's the "Hey these guys obviously know / love their horror movies and just put a cool spin on a potentially boring old convention" familiar. And I'd say that Dave Payne's "Reeker" most definitely falls into the second category. It may not be all that "new" but it's still a good deal of fun nonetheless.

Horror fans really do get a raw deal when you think about it. Over the past few years we've seen kind of a horror resurgence, which is what happens when a movie or two "break out" and make a lot of money. As the tail end of this resurgence winds down, the studios are busy releasing absolute junkpiles like Boogeyman and Hide and Seek and White Noise and Cursed -- and that's just this year alone!

So we the intrepid horror hounds must dig deep into the indie pile to find our blood-soaked sustenance. (Where do you think Lions Gate discovers movies like May and Cabin Fever?) And even though this Reeker flick might practically "reek" of earlier influences and fairly familiar plot lines, there's always something to be said for plain old enthusiasm and a palpable respect for the genre.

If I told you the movie was about "a van full of party-kids on their way to a rave deep in the desert," you'd probably start tuning out right away. Who hasn't seen a horror movie about a bunch of clueless kids who discover something horrific while on an ill-advised road trip? Most of you have probably seen several. But still, Reeker dusts off this potentially tired old chestnut and polishes it up with a lot of wit, exuberance and goopy gore effects.

A movie like Reeker relies upon a lot upon its villain, since the central characters are there mainly to wander about and get slaughtered in horrific fashion. And Reeker not only has a groovy, gore-soaked killer, but the low-key effects used to bring him to life are pretty damn cool. We're not talking Spider-Man 2 effects work, but the stuff looks quite impressive -- especially considering the flick's limited budget.

Another gold star goes into the casting column, because the Reeker actors do their darndest to bring some colorful vigor to the normally one-note roles. Particular kudos to Michael Ironside for bringing some old-school character actor cachet to the proceedings, Eric Mabius for creating a truly menacing character in only a few brief scenes, and Tina Illman for being one sassy broad. Actually the whole cast is surprisingly good, which only goes to prove that a collection of strong actors is an indie filmmaker's best friend.

I could name about a half-dozen horror movies that are very similar in story to "Reeker," but this one's an improvement over most of those flicks. So if you're an aspiring indie horror-guy, take this flick as a lesson: if you're going to tell a story we've heard before, make sure you bring something particularly strong or unique to the party. "Reeker" brings both of these, and the result is a horror flick a whole lot better than its plot synopsis might suggest.

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originally posted: 03/23/05 12:06:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 BendFilm Festival For more in the 2005 BendFilm Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Boston Fantastic Film Festival For more in the 2005 Boston Fantastic Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/01/08 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 5 stars
5/11/08 Mic Stupid story, Nice blonde though 1 stars
10/15/07 William Goss Peculiar villain can't make up for common cop-out ending and sheer monotony. 3 stars
9/10/07 Dan Saw it on Sky, total rubbish 1 stars
9/09/07 steffi Nice suspense, gore but storyline unoriginal. Will never use outside loos :P 4 stars
9/03/07 casey great movie and great storyline, it matches perfectly with the car acciednet 4 stars
7/17/07 john The people who complain abou the ending are morons. 4 stars
2/07/07 pete.chesworth The FX was excellent but what happened to the storyline 3 stars
1/01/07 Tabitha Amazing and full of spine chilling thrills! 5 stars
10/02/06 cellardoor my god what a poor movie, not the worst i've ever seen but it's just bad. 1 stars
9/29/06 Rob Fied This is a great film a real ribirth of the classic 80's horro genre with a twist 5 stars
8/28/06 Barry Norman Save rental fee, give it to charity, utter shite 1 stars
7/31/06 Soeren It is quite likely the worst cast I have ever seen. 1 stars
7/02/06 chris f totally awesome well worth watching and owning on dvd! 5 stars
6/04/06 Renegades One of the best horror films I have seen in years 5 stars
3/25/06 Alice like all others, nothing new 2 stars
8/09/05 David Goldblum Great film more than I expexcted 5 stars
7/26/05 Colin M. Finally. A smart, violent, sexy, funny, monster flick. 5 stars
6/25/05 Rory the Butcher Scary as hell. The Reeker is cool. 4 stars
5/16/05 thehitman very good stuff... 5 stars
4/17/05 Don Larson A very good horror movie. M. Ironside and S. Whyte did a great job. 5 stars
3/31/05 Jennifer Borders A must see! 5 stars
3/24/05 TomThumb2 Why aren't more horror movies this good? 5 stars
3/24/05 monnilove had you on the edge , great movie 3 stars
3/22/05 Laz Scary stuff. Good CGI. 4 stars
3/22/05 Cheri Howell I loved every minute of this movie! Dave Payne has made the funniest horror movie ever! 4 stars
3/18/05 Ron Apt Awesome !!! 5 stars
3/18/05 Tommy Bradley Reeker is a fresh take on the horror genre. I really, really liked it. 5 stars
3/18/05 lance the humor is dark and the scares work! my kind of flick! 5 stars
3/17/05 Don Parks Its a great movie. It has alot of good scenes and the acting is really believeable. 5 stars
3/16/05 Marc Gruesome, but cinematically a blast. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
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Directed by
  Dave Payne

Written by
  Dave Payne

  Eric Mabius
  Scott Whyte
  Tina Illman
  Arielle Kebbel
  Devon Gummersall
  Michael Ironside

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