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"Evil Is In The Air"
Rated: Unrated/15

Director– Dave Payne
Writer– Dave Payne


Tina Illman – Gretchen
Devon Gummersall – Jack
Scott Whyte – Trip
Derek Richardson – Nelson
Arielle Kebbel – Cookie

6½ Pies

Reviewed by Limey

Plot Summary

When a group of students on their way to the desert party of the year break down at a roadside diner, what starts as merely a frustrating delay to their journey soon becomes a nightmare when they find themselves being hunted by a mysterious decaying creature.


Sometimes in the world of movies it can be all too easy to lose sight of what is surely the foundation of any successful film – the element of fun. Of course, you can always build on that and create something more. Movies can achieve amazing things – they can instruct, inspire, unite – and it can be magical when a film truly speaks to you.

However, it is important to remember that not every movie can or even needs to do that. Sometimes all you need is something fun. Reeker is fun. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than that. Instead it is a funny, well-made, fast moving horror flick that knowingly breaks no new ground whatsoever in its more important quest of being an enjoyable 90 minutes.

That's not to say you can't criticise the film. There are times when, if you think about it too much, it doesn't make a lot of sense but hey – we're horror fans. We're used to that. Besides, the ending gives you enough room to play with possibilities and make any plot holes or flawed logic work in your own head.

The fact is that while it was on, those issues didn't detract from the movie. They could have – aiming for fun will never excuse poor filmmaking – but they were cancelled out by the good. I enjoyed spending time with the heroes, I thought the Reeker himself was a brilliant monster-villain, and the writing and direction accentuated the positives.

Again, who doesn't love it when films push the envelope or change the way we look at something? But again, that doesn't mean we should be dismissive of films that are instead, simply well-made and fun - because, actually, that isn't so simple to achieve at all.


Jack – Smell is the first sense you have when you're born and the last sense you have when you die.

Nelson – Are you afraid of the dark?
Trip: No, I'm afraid of psycho desert crackheads who hunt small animals with Dahmer's garden tools.


Originality: ¼Pie


Isolated teenagers being picked off one at a time by a supernatural threat? That should sound familiar, since it describes not only Reeker but numerous other films in the horror aisle. Even the nature of their isolation – and the shockingly unique locale of an abandoned motel – that is revealed towards the end is far from new; another film in my collection is identical.

I do like that the Reeker is a kind of grim reaper, a figure not seen nearly enough in horror. Still, that the flick ‘breaks no new ground' does rather limit its potential in this category.


Spook Factor: ½ Pie

Ah, it just isn't designed to spook. At times the injuries and deaths are even played for laughs. Still, the Reeker is actually surprisingly brutal in his approach so you may squirm from time to time and possibly even jump ever so slightly as he becomes increasingly determined towards the finale but it is never truly spooky.


Antagonist: ¾ Pie

I really like the Reeker. A kind of grim reaper figure, he hunts you down when you are at your most vulnerable. A full pie won't be going his way, since that is a prize reserved for genre giants with a touch more personality, but he is a solid three quarter. And it is very fitting that the personification of death is rotting and, thus, reeks.


Story: ¾ Pie


Story for me is also the category for discussing the writing and the writing here is very good. In keeping with the theme, it doesn't scale new heights, but the little things are done well. For me the biggest plus is that characters feel real. We get to see little snippets of their lives and personalities, revealed to us not via clunky exposition but in natural conversation, which gives them a sense of history and depth.

Similarly, how often do films reflect the minutiae of real life; those absurd moments when we would really like to stop the movement activated flush on a public toilet from going off? How often do movies show that no, in reality you won't always successfully crash through any old window you throw yourself at, and the likely outcome once you did get through? Moments like this made me laugh like hell and reminded me of normal everyday life.

Oh, with all that said, it did also make me laugh how hard of hearing everyone was. No one ever hears any of the screaming and shouting that can't be more than 100 metres away from them at any one time.


Acting: ¾ Pie

The story gave us well written characters; the actors give us well played characters. Not to labour a point but they feel real – they're not the most well developed group on screen but there is enough in the dialogue and in the performances for us to relate to them and believe they existed before the film began. Even so, the cast weren't really required to stretch themselves. They did good, just maybe not great.


Directing: ¾ Pie


Every director faces the challenge of investing a film with their unique voice while at the same time avoiding the mistake of talking over it. Dave Payne rises to that challenge.

No doubt it helped that, as the writer, he was intimately familiar with the script and knew exactly how he wanted things to play out. He brought his vision to life with well-staged sequences, interesting angles, and knowing when to let events speak for themselves.

Soundtrack: ¾ Pie

The music here is fine but never strives for greatness. It sets the mood and accompanies the scene, evoking certain feelings as you recall previous moments in the film. As such does its job well, but it slips quietly away the moment the curtains drop.

The reason it scores as high as three quarters is the genius of playing a Chopin composition during one death scene. Not only does it work extremely well by itself but it is also a clever nod to an earlier conversation in the film. It is the closest the Reeker comes to having a personality akin to Mr. Krueger.

Special Effects: ¾ Pie

Beyond the usual blood and guts, the Reeker himself is the biggest effect. A rotting, transient creature, you need to believe in him as he fades in and out of a sequence, strobes toward his victims and his body looks ready to fall apart. I did.


Gore: ½ Pie

It is not that the gore is bad. What you see is mostly fine and is, importantly, meaningful as you have reason to care about what is happening to the cast. The reason it gets marked down is the pre-credit sequence.

It is simply a personal preference but I don't care for seeing people symmetrically sliced. For example, when someone would walk through invisible lasers or razor wire and then, after standing upright for a beat, neatly slide into two dozen pieces.

While it is not quite like that here, there is a similar moment. Sure, it is easy to excuse such moments as being part of fantasy, sci-fi or horror, but for me they always look so silly and unrealistic, while being delivered so seriously, it takes me out of the experience.

This was almost mentioned in special effects instead but the effects department were simply doing what they were asked to do, and did it well, so Gore takes the hit.

Replay, Rewatch, Rewind: ¾ Pie

There are films that will always be ahead of this one in the Rewatch list, but it will also always have a place there itself. If you need to pass a restless afternoon with an enjoyable flick, there are certainly worse options out there than Reeker.



It entertains with a solid cast and a strong creative hand holding the pen and the camera.


Some off moments here and there that don't work or don't make sense.


Final Word

Perhaps this review can only ever preach to the choir in terms of accepting it for what it is. Horror fans generally understand that not every genre entry is going to be a work of art. The majority come closer to a piece of cheese than to a masterpiece. Reeker falls somewher e in between. Maybe it doesn't have grand aspirations but it is still a well-crafted picture that deserves to be seen. Slightly cheesy, maybe, but it certainly doesn't reek.

©2013, 2008-2012 Yank-Lime Pie. All rights reserved.