In the documentary Going to Pieces, Amy Holden Jones, director of The Slumber Party Massacre, offers her definition of a good Slasher film. She says, “The key factor for a good Slasher movie is that it fulfill the requirements of the genre but surprise you in a way that a previous one has not done.” By that definition, Reeker is not only a good Slasher film, it’s a great one.
In fact, Reeker is so original, so surprising that, for the first hour or so, you’ll actually be confused as hell. But be patient; stick with it. The weirdness begins when a shudder runs through the travellers’ car and, I’ll admit, when half a trucker gets pulled out of—well, I won’t give it away, but suffice to say that the half-trucker mumbles a few words before bounding away on his palms and my reaction was a resounding “What the hell is going on?”
But the explanation—and there is one—is entirely satisfying. At least it was to me. The filmmakers here have taken a decidedly typical premise—a group of college students on a road trip to a concert—and given it a solid twist, subverting our expectations and forcing us to pay attention, lest we miss the who, what, where, when, and why in the good name of Christ is all of this happening.
Thankfully, Dave Payne and crew did not contend themselves with a clever plot. The characters are a fun, well-drawn group, including a wise-cracking jackass, a blind man, and a capable, likeable Final Girl.
The killer is suitably creepy, garbed in a long dark coat and wearing a gas mask. He is sheathed in a shifting haze of stink (hence the nickname), moves in a stop-motion-like stutter-step, and wields a series of apparently mechanized weapons, using them to kill in ways that will only make sense in the final few scenes.
So let’s talk about those kills. As mentioned, at first they won’t make much sense at all, but you won’t care because they look pretty damn great. This is a bloody, gory film and the effects are surprisingly good.
Reeker is an undeniably creative film and, where modern Slashers are concerned, a must-see.
Length: 90 min