"Grim Reaper" DVD
Every so often, I find
a movie that really tests me. Maybe sometimes it tests my patience,
or my cognitive reasoning center, or maybe even my sheer tolerance
for insanity. This week was no different, but this time, I faced
down the sheer power of a new idea. Executed really, really poorly.
brought what started out as a truly ho-hum familiar storyline;
essentially, some stripper was waiting for a cab outside the strip
joint in which she shakes the moneymaker and got hit by the aforementioned
cab. This launched off a series of strange events--including an
admonition to "stay in the light" from a random passerby
and spurs her pre-med boyfriend to go hunting her up, and finally
finding her again in an insane asylum. Even better, she's seeing
a random hooded whatsit armed with a scythe stalking and messily
killing anyone that it comes in contact with.
Hence the title.
Now, you're probably
already shaking your head and sighing as you run down the list
of possible knockoffs: "Final Destination", maybe? "Darkness
Falls", with that whole half-assed "stay in the light"
business? Maybe even that upcoming "The Invisible"?
Maybe you're even digging way, way back for memories of the fourth
"Nightmare on Elm Street" installment. And in all honesty,
you'd not be wrong to do so. It turns out to have shades of all
of these, though it favors "Final Destination" a bit
more than it should.
Okay, so maybe it's not all that original an idea, but let's be
honest--when's the last time you saw a "Final Destination"
knockoff? Not recently, I'll bet.
Sadly, what really
might have saved "Grim Reaper" and its vaguely original
idea was some good execution, something in very short supply here.
I may be wrong on this one, but I think stripping involves a little
more than circling a pole dressed as an angel in the midst of
a crowd of hooting men and not taking off so much as a wing before
walking off stage. Though I have to give them some credit for
not using the strip club sequence to set out the canary-in-the-coal-mine
tactic of naked chicks in the first few minutes. There is, interestingly,
no nudity. Plus, the narrative itself is pretty thin. Events,
especially for the first half hour, seem to happen semirandomly
with little or no interconnecting dialogue or exposition to explain
what we're doing jumping from one thought to the next.
It was a pretty fair
idea, in all honesty, and at least they deviated from some of
the standard horror movie cliches. They took a pretty good chance
on this one--it's a crying shame that it didn't manage to turn
out any better than it actually did.
The ending is a bit
confused--she's got to stop death, by dying, kind of...but only
for a couple minutes? If you think about it a bit, it starts to
make some sense, and otherwise isn't a bad ending despite some
The special features
include English and Spanish subtitles, plus trailers for "Saw
III", "Crank", "Murder Set Pieces", and
"A Dead Calling".
All in all, it was
a good idea gone fairly well awry, and thus manages to slot itself
firmly into mediocrity by virtue of averages.
Directed by Michael Feifer
Written by Ellis Walker
Starring Cherish Lee, Benjamin Pitts, Nick Mathis, Brent Fioler
Produced by Michael Feifer
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