Monday, February 11, 2008

Reeker 2005

(spoilers) Damn, now here's a low-budget film that gets some good mileage out of relatively little. There was a reason this baby was a convention and DVD hit: this little cocksucker deepthroats. This baby not only defied my expectations more than once, it kept me and me buds from going to the piss-pot from the start to the end. The first surprise was the opening road-kill sequence, a blood-bucket explosion that transcended its initially parodistc excess by swiftly and effectively supplying a heavy dollop of true shock. Would never have thought that the film as a whole could manage to be half as effective as the opening scene, but Reeker delivers the goods all the way until the almost predictable surprise ending. (I say "almost predictable" 'cause of the three guys watching Reeker, I was the only one that saw it coming.) Truth be told, the surprise ending was about the only thing I really didn't like about the flick, but up until the denouncement, Reeker sure-footedly tread the line between the normal teenager body count genre and surreally genuine horror. After the initial unexpected punch in the gut, Reeker takes its leisure time before it starts delivering the goods. And, in doing so, becomes all the more effective. The five young twens that share a ride to a desert rave before the shit hits the fan are given time and space to develop personalities that, although of varying likability, help make the terror they face all the more effective by enabling the viewer to see them as something more than the typical interchangeable and faceless slasher victim. Jack (Devon Gummersall), the token handicapped of the group – he's blind – is particularly effective, both as a character one comes to identify with and as an actor. (Although it remains a sign of the quality of acting and the film as a whole that the opening leisurely pace works; in many an other teen slasher flick — like A Crack in the Floor, for example — has done likewise only to fail miserably. In a film like that, when the acting, build-up and characterization is bad, a leisurely pace is real drag.)
As mentioned, the five terrorized twens in Reeker are on the road to a rave at "Area 52" (just down the road from Area 51, I guess). Unknown to the others, due to the sticky fingers of Trip (Scott Whyte), there is one pissed-off ecstasy dealer (Eric Mabius) hot on their ass. Gretchen (Tina Illman), the driver of the car, ain't too pleased to find out she's participating in the transport of illegal substances; when Trip refuses to dump his stash, she decides to drop him off at a two-bit motel and rest stop back down the road where they had just made a piss pause. But, hey! Where did everyone go? Suddenly
"The Halfway Travel & Oasis" is the Mary Celeste of roadside motel diners. Worse, not only are all cell phones, radios and televisions on the blink, the car suddenly ain't going anywhere due to ripped gas main. Thus the twens are forced to settle down for the night, and promptly do what they always do in horror films: go different ways. Trip hits the highway on his skateboard, but after he runs into and barely escapes the pissed-off dealer, he heads back to the motel, joining up with a trailer-driving tourist named Henry searching for his wife (an always effective Michael Ironside in one his typical blink-now-and-you'll-miss-me roles). Meanwhile, back at the ranch – I mean, motel – Cookie (Arielle Kebbel) has popped some X and is getting ready to do the dirty with Nelson (Derek Richardson) while Gretchen and Jack shoot the breeze and tent out in front of the hotel...
And this is when the flick starts flying! A ghostly killer in a gasmask and a gnarly drill-tool arm whose pending appearance is preceded by a stench so strong it almost kills you suddenly appears on the scene — on rooftops, in outhouses, under the bed. And, in between, a trash container inhabited by a bearded old-timer missing his lower-half, dead deer that appear from nowhere, bloody and disfigured ghostly figures that flit by in the background...
On one level, Reeker is just another low budget, commercially oriented body-count film, but with a lot more tension and clever ideas. In the end, for all the bodies that drop, the film transcends its roots to become highly effective horror film — you know, one of those rare films that actually has some suspense and scares instead of just blood and bodies. By the time the last two survivors are on the road and on the run and seemingly facing unavoidable doom, you might just not notice that your beer bottle is empty! (And that, my friend, is a rare experience indeed.)
(BIG Spoilers as of now.... But then, what follows now is just me on the rag, so you really don't need to read it anyway.)
OK, as much as I would like to pretend otherwise — especially since Reeker is such a breath of fresh air (hardy-har-har!) amongst all mass of rancid direct-to-dvd "horror" trash one normally gets — I do have a three bones to pick about the film. And, as few as they are, I wanna air them, too — though, in all fairness, the flaws definitely don't take away from the real-time viewing experience.
Nonetheless, here I go: One, the ending sorta sucks. (Not that me and my viewing buds could come up off-the-bat with a better idea, but then, we ain't filmmakers and we weren't stoned.) What or who is that creature, anyways? Death? Whoa, he’s gotten a lot meaner since the days of The Seventh Seal (1957) and Final Destination (2000). But even if we accept the idea that the nether-regions between life and death are inhabited by some stinking and rotting creature that likes to rip people apart with a drill-tool, if only dead or half-dead people agitate within this nether-realm, how can Trip have his run-in with the drug dealer? And screw it, why can't good films be left alone instead of always having a sequel? (No Man's Land: Reeker 2 is presently in post-production and set for release this year.)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...