Today: June 20, 2024


Reaper has one of the most misleading DVD covers in recent years. It lists Danny Trejo and Vinnie Jones first like they’re the main characters. In actual fact, it takes Danny nearly half an hour out of an 85 minute film to turn up, and Vinnie has a barely five minute in total extended cameo. It has the two of them facing each other like it’s a battle between them. Their characters never meet. They are dressed in robes, and the scene looks vaguely gothic, like at least one of them is the Reaper. It’s set modern day Ohio, and the Reaper himself not only isn’t played by either of them (but Mike Michaels instead), he also doesn’t look anything like that. In short, any resemblance between this film and that cover is purely coincidental. This whole paragraph has been dedicated to the DVD cover, because there really is precious little to discuss with this film.

Natalie (Shayla Beesley) is a petty criminal on the road to California. She has already run into the lecherous Bill (Jake Busey), drug dealer Brad (James Jurdi), and quite a few other neer’do wells on her journey, and ripped them off. But a local hotel she’s forced to hide in has a dark secret; it’s home to the Reaper, a serial killer who prays upon the sinners, and there are a lot of them around tonight.

It’s pretty obvious that the makers of this came up with a villain they thought would look cool first, and tried to base the film about that. Unfortunately, the new Freddy Kruger the Reaper is not (hell, he’d barely be the new Wishmaster). His look is a complete mess of brown robes, wires everywhere, and electric park effects that his victims somehow keep just not noticing. It tries to give him an interesting motivation, with the idea of him being a cult leader and such, but we see a grand total of one follower of his in the film; that does not make a cult. It’s also hard to see how a brute like the Reaper would have the intelligence and charisma needed to get others to follow him. His ridiculous electric powers raise a lot of questions too; did getting sent to the electric chair do that to him? Is all that something he made? How does he square use of very obvious science with God’s work? We may never know or care.

The whole film’s a waste of time. None of the cast have anything to work with and are all just phoning it in. Almost every character is some manner of criminal; there’s only one vaguely nice person in all film, and it’s not our lead Natalie. It’s impossible to care about any of them. As far as slasher movie kills go, they are utterly unmemorable, with a lot of the time there are so many bad CGI lightning effects it’s hard to tell what the hell actually happened. Finally, the whole film looks and feels really cheap and uninspired, with cinematography barely up to TV standards, let alone film.

Reaper is a dull, meandering waste of time of a film. While the cast has some good names in there, you really are much better off sticking with film’s they actually star in. It’s mean spirited, trashy, boring and poorly made. Even the name is uninspired, as at no point the Reaper uses a scythe or properly reaps anyone or anything. There are far better horror films to rent over Halloween, skip this.

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