Hey folks, Harry here... I remember having fun with I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, but oddly - I can't remember a damn thing about it these days. Sounds like this is a lot like that. A movie you enjoy for its own immediate sense of fun, but leaves the lasting impression of silly putty stretched thin. Well, they gotta abuse Blue Oyster Cult's song. It needs to be their anthem. Here ya go...
Hi Harry -
I'm a frequent AICN talkbacker an occassional reviewer. But for now, you can call me GUMBY WAGSTAFF.
Recently I attended a test screening of THE REAPER, the new movie from Jim Gillespie, director of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. THE REAPER is supposedly scheduled for wide release in September. So... will the movie make us fear the Reaper? Or should we fear THE REAPER?
Well... speaking spoiler-free -
THE REAPER is very much in the vein of early 80's popcorn horror, particularly the early HALLOWEEN movies and the many sequels involving one Jason Vorhees, as well as the countless knock-offs of both (there WERE those, to be sure). From this general assessment, you might assume one of two things: 1) THE REAPER as a horror film isn't groundbreaking on any level; and 2) It should be fun for horror genre fans whose discrimination is moderate-to-low. Right on both accounts.
Being a test screening, of course, what I saw was an early edit - half the movie could conceivably be different by the time it goes into wide release. Additionally, the music which I heard in the film was no doubt far from final (and no - I did NOT hear the Blue Oyster Cult classic "[Don't Fear] the Reaper," unfortunately. With any luck, it WILL be included later, especially after those guys effectively got screwed out of royalties when the 1998 American version for whatever reason passed on use of their song "Godzilla." But I digress... )
Most of THE REAPER is pretty much on the routine side... Small town. The local weirdo whom everyone is weary of. Teenage angst. Pretty teenage girls. On that tip, both the lead actresses, Agnes Bruckner and Meagan Good, ARE pretty cute. And yes, there's the requisite scene which is an excuse to get them into bikinis (Bijou Phillips is also in the movie, for whatever that's still worth to anyone).
The film's underlying theme involves Voodooism, as did the awful sequel I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, or as I call it I STILL DON'T KNOW HOW THIS GOT GREENLIT (Gillespie, to his default credit, had absolutely nothing to do with that one, at least not on the record). This one does it better than that movie at least, although that's probably not saying a whole lot. The editing - again, at least in the cut I saw - tended to be the usual "Boo! Gotcha!" style also common of such movies.
It's also maybe interesting to note that if this were indeed the early 80's (or perhaps even a bit later) THE REAPER would probably have been a good summer movie; this was before the era that we're in now in which three or four zillion-dollar-budgeted films come out every Friday, when a low-budged popcorn movie like this one could've snuck in under the radar.
For now, though, THE REAPER, at least the cut I saw, was pretty fun. Garden-variety horror, for sure, but that DOES have its place, at least to some people.