Reeker (2005)
By: Michael Helms on July 24, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
IDT (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 91 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Dave Payne
Starring: Devon Gummersall, Tina Payne, Derek Richardson, Scott Whyte, Arielle Kebbel
Screenplay: Dave Payne
Music: Dave Payne
Tagline: If You Can't Breathe, You Can't Scream
Country: USA
With a title like Reeker it's difficult to picture anything not doused with the aroma of Troma, but we're talking a serious attempt for sustained horror here that's readily supported by an evolved sense of humour.

A solitary fart joke is quickly emitted before a pre-opening credit sequence of surprising intensity and carnage. Post titles we get a road trip with a little back-story on one of the five student travellers, one of who is blind and all of whom seem to be heading for the Burning Man Festival. Our man has been involved in a little substance trade that's gone askew and has to leave town, quickly. Attaching himself to the two couples he decides to keep up the pranks. Sending the blind guy to the women's toilets is one and after handing around the ecstasy he's nominated to be thrown out by the tough femme driver. Breakdowns occur and before you can reach for the scratch and smell card that should come with this movie but doesn't, one fervently sniffing character remarks, "There's something in the air". With group dynamics firmly in place we're strapped in for adventure.

Stranded for the night in a motel in the middle of nowhere the blind guy stumbles in for a sight gag and some dead people flashbacks when a cheesy vapour effect arrives representing the stench that precedes The Reeker, a Grim Reaper-like figure. Michael Ironside comes aboard as an old man with a motor home looking for his wife. He's also not someone about to give the gang any petrol. Drug guy finds a half-body man in the garbage and also gets a faceful with the old septic siphon gag. One of the girls gets dragged into the cesspool below a toilet. A ripped throat, a head drilling and a decayed living face in a gas mask round out most of the moments of mayhem. The crashing 4WD finale smashes into a concussed coda.

Reeker might barely register on paper, in fact coming off more Troma-like than you should believe but it really does go some way to creating a sustained atmosphere of horror and unease. It's use of interesting characters who might just be spam in a cabin but who come off as something more human is also helpful in distinguishing it from the pack.
Video
When not running around in near total darkness Reeker spends most of its time striving to look like a modern version of the grainy, naturally-lit natural wonders from the 70s (TCM, Last House, Hills etc.) that it's clearly attempting to emulate.
Audio
Crisp and present dialogue with pounding score in surround give Reeker a solid aural base upon which to display some striking visuals.
Extra Features
Behind the scenes featurette & B-roll clips.
The Verdict
Reeker is the first film that goes a long way to making the sense of smell horrifying without supplying a scratch and smell card. Recommended.
Movie Score
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