Reaper may not be the worst horror movie you see this year, but it’s highly likely that it won’t be the best. Philip Shih has fashioned a film that is low on scares and lacking in any real thrills. The problem lies in the script by James Jurdi and Mark James; it just doesn’t have anything interesting to say. It’s a shame because the film does feature a few interesting actors (Danny Trejo, Vinnie Jones and Jake Busey).
The film stars Shayla Beesley as a hitchhiker with incredibly bad luck. She winds up staying in a hotel with a poor hygiene rating, becomes involved with bad-ass criminals and (worst of all) is chased by a shocking serial killer (literally, he’s shocking). It sounds like all the elements are in-place for an interesting, if unoriginal shlocker; instead it’s all just very uninteresting.
Fans of Jake Busey will be saddened to know that he’s out of the picture within about 15 minutes and Vinnie Jones appears to have shot his scenes over the course of an afternoon. That leaves Trejo to carry the majority of the film on his broad shoulders. The Machete star just about cripples himself doing it – but it shows that the man with more lines on his face than Google Maps has what it takes to improve mediocre material.
As for the film’s titular killer – I get the feeling that Shih and co wanted to create an iconic villain that could potentially slaughter his way through more Direct-to-DVD horrors, but he doesn’t have enough of a USP to become even remotely memorable.
Sometimes you reap what you sow; Reaper isn’t even so-so.