Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NEW UK HORROR Day Seven (Finale): THE REEDS (2009)

The Reeds (2009)
Directed by Nick Cohen

Our Halloween Horror Festival winds to a close a few days late (thanks to poor planning, a lazy mail carrier, and life in general), with The Reeds, a tale of six friends (3 couples) who have rented a boat for a weekend, um, somewhere.

It's never really all that clear just where they plan on going, other than to a pub and maybe a hotel where they have rooms booked?  That vagueness is, I think, intentional and comes into play as we reach the gory end of our story.

Sort of.

As with most of the other films reviewed over the past week or so, this is very nicely shot.  In fact, except for Wild Country, every one of the films we've watched for this festival has looked great.  Even when the story left something to be desired.

Unfortunately, this is one of the films with a less than spectacular story.

For the most part, it's pretty boring and kind of what one might expect from a low-budget slasher film.  But, with that said, there was enough visual and narrative flair to keep us interested.  At first we thought we were getting a Ghost Story.  Then it seemed like it might be a Monster In The Shadows story.  Then there's a hint of Scary Teen Killers thrown in, along with a healthy dose of Crazy Old Murderer added, to boot.

My biggest complaint about the film is this, actually.  It never seems to settle on just what kind of story it wants to tell.  By the time we realize that it really is a Ghost Story, we're at the climax, and that's when Cohen and writers Chris Baker and Mark Anthony Galluzzo decide to go for broke and really start throwing ideas at us.  There's a surprise revelation that's completely out of left field, a weird torture scenario that implies some sort of supernatural curse, there are weird things going on with time and space, and before you know it, we're back at the beginning of the film.

Sort of.

The best thing about the film is the look.  The Norfolk Broads is a very moody, atmospheric setting and as the boat struggles to make its way along the winding river it becomes more and more claustrophobic.  The actors all give functional performances, even if they don't have much to work with by way of character.  They all have distinctive looks, even the creepy teens, and don't really fit the generic molds one might expect to find in the casting.

In the end, though, the film was disappointing.  There were a few good scares and gorgeous riverscapes, and one very nice surprise burst of gore, but the story wasn't great and it just seemed to be trying too hard when it was all said and done.

I'd still recommend taking a look, but I wouldn't go building an evening around it.


  1. The Norfolk Broads is a very moody, atmospheric setting

    It really isn't. They film it here like it's Apocalypse Now, but it's more like, er, Wisconsin.

  2. Well, it looks good on film. Very creepy. Those overhead shots were beautiful.