The following opinions should not be read prior to seeing the films in question. (Though it is possible you have resigned to never watch them at all...)

These are not reviews upon which you should base movie watching decisions. Rather, I write with the hopeful purpose of inciting sometimes interesting, sometimes informative, sometimes humourous discussions about cinema. What may prove unfortunate for the reader is that I often express myself in a pompous and juvenile fashion...mayhap there ought to be a "warning" in recognition of my sense of humour...

Regardless, I implore film fans to always remember that all film is art, and all art is subjective. No one can tell you if you like a movie, except you. Likes and dislikes of film can only be opinion, and opinion can never be wrong; only intelligently expressed and defended. There is nothing wrong with unconditionally loving a film that isn't necessarily held in the highest regard, so long as you understand and accept why you love it.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Director - Dave Payne
Starring - Michael Muhney, Desmond Askew, Mircea Monroe, Stephen Martines, Valerie Cruz

It`s probably not a good sign when the cover box calls this movie No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker, the DVD menu calls it The Rise of The Reeker (note the extra "the"), and the opening titles simply opt for No Man's Land. Ah well, can't judge a movie by it's numerous titles...

When you've seen as many shitty movies as I have, particularly within the horror genre, it becomes increasingly difficult to be unappreciative of mediocrity. In many instances, I find the result to be similar to what we have here, which is a generally bad film sprinkled with a few imaginative moments. Of course, I may watch it again simply due to my passion for the genre, but do not let my actions motivate yours; it's not very good and I can admit that to myself.

All this nonsense is further aggravated by the fact that I kinda dug the opening scene and my hopes were mildly raised. In the obligatory origin flashback, I was treated to some decent looking direct-to-video gore and a playful introduction to the background of said Reeker. All is faring positively up until the one-handed dweeb returns to his shanty accompanied by that goddamn overused, herky-jerky camera work as he moves. It denotes death...or stench...or otherworldly spookiness...or just a plain, old, overall successful attempt to piss me off...And with that minute technique, the story regresses into a typical "holed-up, disagreeing survivor" tale. (Not that the two things are inevitably linked...) After progressing to the present, we are introduced to a handful of one-note characters, where the only upside is that the greater the number of one-note characters, the greater the number of one-note deaths. We get the wise ole disheveled sheriff, his by-the-books Deputy son, the feisty waitress, the empathetic robber, the demented robber, the injured robber, and the intelligent, attractive, female doctor. Following a series of grave misunderstandings the gas station explodes, and, unbeknownst to them, the group of stereotypes are hurtled into the realm between the dead and the living. Now, given that Reeker ended with this so-called twist, why would writer/director Dave Payne slowly reveal this fact as though it were some great secret? I was already privy to this grand revelation, why not pay me, a faithful horror viewer, a little credit?

Amid the mundane proceeding dialogue, and generic "scares" in the form of disappearing people and bad smells, the film does occasionally offer up some visually satisfying (though CGI dominant) and inventive kill scenes. "Headless Binky" and the "wandering" torso spring immediately to my mind, but the majority of the spewing blood and pierced appendages looked acceptable. Finally, something here worth watching. (Now, if only there was some gratuitous nudity this thing might have made it on my "To Buy" list.) Unfortunately, for every drilled-forehead, there's also a lame attempt at comedy. The deputy doesn't sport the slapstick chops that are required to make walking into an invisible wall funny, (those comic gems are few and far between), and the entire "fish fuck" conversation is one of the worst attempts at natural dialect in recent memory. All this failed talking could have been replaced by moderately successful torturing.

Wrapping up the whole shit 'n' kaboodle is an extremely over-elaborate concluding explosion, involving a flaming pigeon for some reason, that resulted in the types of injuries received via the Reeker, smelly harbinger of death, in...take a deep breath...No Man's Land. (For those who have seen Reeker, the deep breath is not necessary.)

All I need now is the promise of an open-ended franchise and my continued Reeker viewership is assured, accompanied by what I assume will be a modicum of direct-to-video success. Hardcore horror fanatics are desperate for material that is even slightly above pitiful, and seeing how this was not quite a waste of my time, which I have in abundance, I will sit through the next olifactory adventure, stupid shaky camera and all.

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