Dave Payne's low budget horror film centres on a group of twentysomethings on their way to a rave in the desert, who become stranded at a desolate roadside Motel when their car breaks down. The group are forced to stay the night and that's when creepy incidents begin to occur.
Following in the footsteps of many other notable genre works, Reeker manages to be original thanks to its ability to combine humour and terror in exactly the same moment. The best example of this comes when Derek Richardson's Nelson comes under attack from the titular villain and decides to escape by throwing himself through a window, with both hilarious and painful results.
The cast, who are all recognizable faces, manage to be likeable despite initially playing clichéd characters. We have visually impaired Jack, (Devon Gummersall) wannabe DJ Nelson (Derek Richardson) and his 'goodtime guy' buddy Trip, (Scott Whyte) uptight and sensible Gretchen (Tina Payne) and last but not least my favourite character in the form of sweet as pie Cookie (Arielle Kebbel) who are ably supported by Eric Mabius and Michael Ironside. As the film progresses, each of the characters turn out to be the opposite of what we originally thought they were, which adds a little something.
The gore is great here with ripped off jaws, missing faces, legless corpses, missing arms, stomach impalements, slit throats and much, much more.
The locations, set design, atmosphere and excellent practical and CG effects help to add many layers to the proceedings, but it is the film's initial simple concept and fun atmosphere that helps sustain your interest for the duration.
Here we have a low budget horror movie that takes a tired concept with no big name stars and manages to be original, witty and fresh. Say what you want about the film, it has managed against all the odds to gain a theatrical run in the UK in the height of the blockbuster season. It is with this knowledge intact that I beg horror fans to support this diamond in the rough, as it stands up and prepares to find an audience amongst a slew of animated movies and superhero blockbusters.
Reeker may not be the most original movie you've ever seen, but it's entertaining and fresh and credit must go to Pathe for having the balls to release it in the height of the summer season. Kudos must also go to hard working filmmaker Dave Payne. He not only produced, wrote and directed the movie, he also scored it. It's his baby and its one sick little puppy.