Hell Plaza Oktoberfest
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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.
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
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+
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