Not that this is an A-grade film. On the contrary, it is “B” right to its core, and that is part of the attraction. It plays directly to its late night, gore-loving audience, choosing to spend its energy on gruesome effects and elaborate death scenes and not plot or character.
And yet, B-grade or not, Reeker is surprisingly smart and unexpectedly funny. Director David Payne knows his audience backwards, and he lays out delightful little riffs on classic set ups, winking mischievously at us as we take the bait. The dialogue, however inane, is as natural it comes and the jokes are all right on the money. Payne seems to delight in making us jump, laugh and jump again, all within 30 seconds.
As far as the acting goes, the cast are likeable and largely inoffensive and the characters are well drawn enough to avoid irritating us, but this is no Capote. Look out for Tina Illman, a locally grown actress who also produced the film. It’s nice to see that not all South Africans who go to Hollywood have to ditch their accents.
In many ways Reeker is like Sting’s old band, The Police. When they started out they were, ostensibly, a punk band. But people soon realised that, unlike most punk bands, they could play more than three cords that there were complex musicians behind that simplistic genre definition. While David Payne may be no Gordon Sumner, he has a lot more talent than his choice of movie might suggest, and his movie is a lot better than it looks on the cover.
So roll up gore-fiends, and enjoy this juicy little tidbit of a movie. It’s not going to rock your world, but it’ll make you chuckle and, hopefully, jump right out of your seat.
- Alistair Fairweather
Gore meets giggles in Reeker, the kind of grungy, late night schlock-horror that fans of the genre will adore.
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