Occasionally, and I mean very occasionally, a film comes along that appears so bad, so big a mess, that you honestly think you must have missed something along the way.

You know what I mean – the fact that perhaps you dozed off and missed an important plot point, or the DVD had somehow skipped and missed a scene – anything to explain the fact that you are flabbergasted anybody came up with what you just witnessed and thought they could get away with it.

That, my friends, is exactly how I felt at the conclusion of Reaper, a staggering cock-up of a movie that is almost not worth writing about in any shape or form.

But, at the end of the day, I run a film site, so here goes…..

Essentially two separate films that are spliced together in the hope of sitting well as a couple, the film takes us down two plot strands.

First up is the titular Reaper – a serial killer that has escaped after a botched attempt to execute him in the electric chair.

We are never shown this (nor, indeed, are we ever shown his face), but we are left to deduce that he was a pretty bad man because news bulletins pop up every now and again to tell us so.

For some truly inexplicable reason, the Reaper seems to have turned into a modern version of Horace Pinker from Wes Craven’s Shocker – firing out lightning bolts, sizzling with electricity and carving up a few unfortunate saps along the way.

While this is happening, the second plot strand follows cute hitchhiker Natalie (Shayla Beesley), thumbing her way across the country in the hope of seeing her sick mother.

Natalie allows herself to be picked up by a series of lowlifes in the hope of scamming some cash, but this only sees her get mixed up in a series of scrapes involving drug dealers, seedy businessmen and religious nutjobs.

Those bad guys include the likes of Danny Trejo and Vinnie Jones as a drug-runner and mob boss respectively, with everyone coming together for one big face-off at a motel that puts a new definition on the word ‘dodgy’.

Turns out though, as seems to be the way in these films, the motel also happens to be the new base for the Reaper, leading to a bloody conclusion for all concerned.

The acting is pretty poor all round – Beesley is undoubtedly pleasing on the eye, but delivers precious little when it comes to a performance, Trejo basically plays Danny Trejo, while Jones only actually appears for no more than five minutes, wielding a knife and spouting some garbled threats.

First-time director Philip Shih (actually Wen-Han Shih) provides sod all in the way of entertainment, although a couple of kills do at least quicken the pulse (although even they come with some oh-so obvious CGI blood).

And don’t even get me started on the DVD sleeve/menu screens, that both feature Trejo and Jones in monk’s garb wielding scythes, an image that bares absolutely no resemblance to anything that actually happens in the film.

I suppose that cannot be laid at the feet of the cast and crew themselves – but they’ve got enough to feel bad about as it is.


DVD Review: Reaper
A totally forgettable horror romp
The Good
  • Beesley makes a cute lead
The Bad
  • Everything else
1.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)

About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle

5 Responses

  1. yeahyeahyeah

    You’re right about the cover art. It sets expectations for a completely different kind of movie, which will inevitably result in the viewer’s disappointment. But beyond that, this film was a real guilty pleasure. Borrowing from some of the best in the genre (from “Psycho” to “Shining”), this is a supremely entertaining, high-octane B-movie at its finest.

  2. maestro54

    Just saw this movie and while I can understand how some die-hard horror fans may find it not horrific enough, it’s still a pretty damn enjoyable thriller. Your review completely overlooked the more interesting elements of the film, which has kind of a Red herring vibe in the sense that you think that the characters and the situations are going to go one way but they wind up doing the exact opposite. Quite unpredictable, and just a real hoot in time for Halloween. SEE IT!

  3. moviewatcher777

    I saw this not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised by how engaging it was. All cast members were spot on. Kind of an ensemble film, where all characters are linked but figuring out their connection is part of the excitement. The horror scenes were suspenseful but not too gory, which is a relief considering the wretched torture porn that’s popular these days. Overall I found it to be rather satisfying. 3.5 stars/5 would be my assessment.

  4. horrormeister54

    Nahhhhhhhh… this is a good, old fashioned road flick with a monster for extra fun. Enjoyable entertainment all the way. I predict cult status in this one’s future…

  5. filmlover

    I totally disagree. This was non-stop fun from start to finish– a good mix of crime thriller and supernatural horror film with a much better cast than you usually get in these kind of flicks.