Reeker

Everyone loves a good mindfuck film. The Sixth Sense. Identity. Black Swan. Memento. When done well, they’re the type of movies that will leave you guessing until the very last moment, sometimes even well after the credits. They’re the perfect striptease, flashing just the right amount of skin to keep us all drooling all over ourselves while waiting for the big, sexy reveal.

When done poorly? They’re a train wreck. Convoluted and confusing, or even worse, completely predictable. Since most of you are aware by now that I am a sadist when it comes to movie choices, I’m sure you can guess where this week’s title fits in!

It’s a total stinker!

Synopsis

DVD Box Art = P.U.

A group of strangers agree to meet up with the plans to travel together to a rave in the desert. When one of the passengers admits to carrying an excessive amount of Ecstasy, the driver and all around do-gooder, pulls over to leave him behind. Strangely enough, in that moment the car breaks down and the group are stranded at an abandoned motel and gas station, soon to be the victims of a foul (literally smelly) monster who came from who-knows-where with its assortment of deadly power tools. Or at least that’s what the movie wants you to believe. Twist and turns take this story into a completely different direction that will likely leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Thoughts

He's half the man he used to be..

Such squandered and wasted potential! The movie starts with this great action sequence of a Mom and son sitting in the front seat of an SUV playing a roadtrip game while dad and the dog sleep comfortably in the back. They smack into a deer, covering the front of the car in gore and when they pull over to the side of the gravel roads, everyone seems to disappear. A few minutes later the kid is screaming as mom goes in search of both her husband and the family pet, only to turn and see her husband with half a face! It immediately caught my attention and made me incredibly interested in the film – that was until they cut to a group of twenty-somethings meeting up to go to this rave in the desert. Enter the selfish creep, the blind sensitive guy, the dopey sidekick, the cute bouncing blonde and the prudish do-gooder (kind of sounds like the characters from Scooby Doo, if you think about it), and this is where the movie starts to get awfully bland.

Blind Guy & Do-Gooder

While the characters did seem to fit the mold of every conceivable stereotype, the script itself was decently written. The dialogue was witty and appropriate to all manners of the scenes that took place – both during the quiet downtimes and the more fast paced chase/action sequences. I didn’t like any of them though. I had zero desire to see any of them survive. Most of the time, I was wondering why it was that the blind guy didn’t have a cane and spent most of the film feeling around with his hands.

It was, however, a bit of a slow crawl. For a ninety minute movie, it took forever for the people to start dying, but once they did, it led to some pretty interesting death scenes. From being dragged into the pit of an outhouse, to have an arm severed and a pretty realistic bedroom fight, the gore and intensity were good when it existed. I didn’t understand the point of the monster – why it looked the way it did (like a zombie fresh from a festering heap of filth) and why it was that it had an array of electronic tools at its disposal. What was the worst? Whenever it was close, not only did the victims gag and cough at the ‘stench’ of the predator, but whenever on screen, it was hazed with stink lines (yeah, you heard me).

What are you? A Garbage Man! Takes one to know one!

And here’s where it gets bad. The movie tries to be a mindfuck. At the end it tries to explain to the viewer that it was all just some twisted version of reality and that in fact, the group died in a car accident and that being chased by ‘Reeker’ was them coming to terms with their own death. Each fatality was a reflection of how they died in the vehicle when they are side swiped by an RV.

Yeah, it was all just a dream.

Verdict

What a piece of… trash.

I have to stop giving these movies ‘A for effort’ because they tried something new. As a horror fan, I appreciate it – but try something different and actually give it your all. This kind of feels like a half-assed attempt to give a generic movie an interesting turn that might have people give it a chance.

Decent screenplay and the reasonable acting cannot overcome the steaming pile of poop that is their M. Night Shamalamadingdong ending.

Netflix Rating: ***
My Rating: *

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