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By Eric Campos | March 18, 2005

Armed with a backpack full of stolen ecstacy, a group of college students head out to the desert for the end all, be all rave. But, being that this is a horror movie, you know they’re never going to make it for a weekend of loud music, trance hippies and glow sticks…unless the title of the movie was supposed to be referring to said hippies. No, our college students wind up at an abandoned motel where something awfully stinky is hunting them down and tearing them to pieces. Now that sounds like a whole lot more fun than some silly rave, don’t it? Yeah, I thought so.

Horror movies such as this one are a lot like rock concerts, so I feel they should start like one. “Reeker” does this in such a big way that it’s like AC/DC taking the stage and ripping right into “Highway to Hell”. To me, that’s good showmanship. Past that, what we really have here is a bunch of characters wandering around a desolate location with nothing else to do but amuse themselves until they realize that they need to be running for their lives. I’ve seen a lot of these types of movies lately as I’m sure you have. And they usually suck, don’t they? Yeah, if you’re not completely bored to suicide, then you’re so annoyed by the awful characters that you want to strangle someone. “Reeker” miraculously avoids both of these pitfalls. Well, it’s not really miraculous, it’s just the work of a good filmmaker.

The characters play a big part in the film’s success as you really don’t mind any of them, in fact they’re even kinda likable, definitely the anti-thesis of your average knuckleheads in a desert horror movie. When the characters in “Reeker” start seeing that s**t hit the fan, you’re actually scared for them instead of relieved that you won’t have to put up with these bothersome turds for much longer.

Another factor that plays into the success of “Reeker” is that director David Payne knows horror movies. He knows what makes them tick, he knows what makes the audience tick and he does all he can to keep the pace of his film rolling, all the while f*****g with the conventions of horror to provide plenty of really cool surprises and twists. And then there’s the gore…oooo yeah, the gore. There are several juicy and creatively over-the-top gore scenes that’ll give horror lovers a swift kick in the a*s.

“Reeker” is a lot fresher than you may think, but all in all, at its core, it’s just a good, bloody time in the desert.

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