Rating 3

Written and directed by Dave Payne

Starring Devon Gummersall, Tina Illman, Scott Whyte, Derek Richardson, Arielle Kebbel, Marcia Strassman, Michael Ironside and Eric Mabius

A bunch of college students car-pool to go to an annual party out in the desert near to Area 51. One of them, Trip (Scott Whyte), is being chased by his crazed drug dealer, Radford (Eric Mabius), something the others do not know. Trip has already made himself unpopular by playing a practical joke on Jack (Devon Gummersall), who is blind, and when the driver, Gretchen (Tina Illman, who was also one of the film’s producers), discovers he is carrying drugs she tells him to find another ride. She reluctantly agrees to drive him back to the gas station diner where they stopped earlier, only to discover the place has become mysteriously deserted, as is the motel next to it. When Tina’s car will no longer start and they are forced to stay there for the night, they are menaced by a force they cannot see, but they can certainly smell.

Everything about this film is clichéd, apart from the result. It bears some comparison to the 2006 remake of ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, although it is not as unpleasant as that film. The desert setting is effective and reminded me of the classic 1953 sci-fi film ‘It Came From Outer Space’. As soon as a lonely motel setting is introduced it is impossible not to think about ‘Psycho’. These are just three of numerous films that came to mind while I was watching.

It is derivative and it is also immensely silly. It has moments of gratuitous gore. One scene in particular, which takes place in a small wooden shack used as a lavatory, almost put me off the film altogether, largely because it veered too close to torture-porn territory, and while I got the intended comedy of the scene, I did not think it was remotely funny. In the end, though, this scene aside, there is just something very likeable about the film.

It works as a good-humoured homage to the films I have mentioned, and many others, rather than simply being derivative. The characters conform to hackneyed stereotypes, but work a good deal better than is often the case in this genre. For example, Trip might be a dumbass, but he is not actually dislikeable.

‘Reeker’ is no classic, but I rather enjoyed it. The film has an impressive and unexpected 67% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, although it should be mentioned that only 12 reviews are counted, which perhaps skews the result somewhat. It was released direct to DVD in the US, following screenings at film festivals.

Its writer/directer Dave Payne made a sequel, ‘No Man’s Land: The Rise of Reeker’, in 2008.

1 comment:

whitelabcoat said...

I haven't heard of this film - which wouldn't necessarily be unusual were it not for the fact it's a horror movie where the words 'lonely motel' and 'Michael Ironside' are involved! (It also scores a couple of points for Eric Mabius - I have a bit of a soft spot for him.)

Must. Check. Out. ASAP.

Thanks for the tip!