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The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest

The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest

Adam Jahnke - Main Page


2005 (2007) - Showtime

Back in the olden days when video stores were physical spaces you went to instead of websites and movies came on magnetic tape, I spent a ridiculous amount of time renting dozens of low and no-budget horror movies based solely on their title and/or cover art. Sometimes this strategy worked and the flicks were better than I thought they'd be. More often than not, though, they were far worse. I doubt that I'd have picked up Reeker based solely on its somewhat bland and generic cover art but the title would have intrigued me enough to give it a shot. And in this case, it would have been one of the happy surprises.

Five college students pile into a ride-share on their way to Area 52, seemingly a kind of Burning Man type festival/party in the desert. One of the group, Trip (Scott Whyte), has ripped off a drug dealer (Eric Mabius) who follows them.

Things start to go bad when the car breaks down at a mysteriously deserted gas station/motel. The kids begin to be picked off... not by the drug dealer but by a bizarre, shrouded figure armed with rusty power tools whose arrival is heralded by an overpowering stench.

Reeker starts off with a bang, boasting a terrific pre-credits sequence that hooks you from the start. Writer/director Dave Payne has great fun staging the numerous monsters 'n' gore scenes. The performances are a bit uneven but by and large, the cast creates a natural, loose vibe that works. The effects are generally quite good, although the wavy, digital effect that stands in for the Reeker's reek gets a bit overdone. The final twist isn't exactly original but it works, especially in the moment. Maybe if you think about it a lot afterwards it'd fall apart but if you're spending a lot of time thinking about a movie called Reeker after you watch it, maybe you should find better uses for that big brain of yours.

The DVD from Showtime presents the movie in anamorphic widescreen and both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital. They're both jes' fine. Extras are paltry: a brief "making-of" promo piece, a photo gallery, and trailers for a couple other horror flicks from the studio.

I'm not about to make the case that Reeker is a modern classic but it is a lot of fun, offering a cool monster, some laughs and grisly effects. It's yet more proof that horror fans are often better off steering clear of the big studio efforts in favor of taking a chance on an unknown quantity.

Film Rating: B-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B+/D+

Adam Jahnke

Adam Jahnke - Main Page
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