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Julie R. Ølgaard
In 1978 Sheriff Reed captures the deranged serial killer known as The Death Valley Drifter in the desert and the criminal is sentenced to death. In the present day, Sheriff Reed is near retirement and will be replaced by his son. Whilst they are having a meal in a rest stop diner in the middle of the desert, a runaway car with three thieves who robbed a casino stops in the spot for refueling. One of the robbers is the former boyfriend of the waitress Maya, and another criminal is wounded in the backseat. There is a shootout among the thieves and the sheriffs and their car explodes, however the body of the wounded criminal vanishes and the survivors discover that they are stranded in the place. Furthermore, they are stalked and chased by a fiend with stench known as The Reeker. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I have fond memories of watching the original "Reeker" back in 2005. It was at the Belgian Festival of Fantastic Films and practically the entire theater went wild with enjoyment. Surely the premise was derivative and the wholesome was overall forgettable, but at least it was a totally unpretentious new horror film with neat gore effects, fresh acting performances and a really cool killer character (a smelly grim reaper like serial killer). Nothing more, nothing less. The release of sequel within a couple of years was inevitable, but let it be understood that it wasn't unwelcome at all. In a fair period of three years, writer/director Dave Payne came up with a follow-up that is at least equally entertaining, exciting and fast-paced as the first. Obviously the surprise element has vanished although even the original wasn't *that* surprising but Payne inventively compensates this through adding a background to the killer, even more black humor and barbaric gross-out effects. The main difference with "Reeker" is that the characters become conscious of the situation they're in relatively quick and actually attempt to make it out of there. Whether some of them succeed or not is what keeps the film reasonably suspenseful. "No Man's Land" opens bizarrely, in the year 1978, with the arrest and execution of a serial killer known as the Death Valley Drifter. He doesn't even bother to resist because the voices in his sick head keep telling him that his work on earth is done and a much bigger errand awaits him. Jumping forward to present time in the same desert, where a retiring Sheriff and his estranged deputy son literally bump into a couple of fugitive casino robbers. Subsequent to some gunfire and a car explosion, the posse find themselves isolated and abandoned in the desert, with a heavily stinking and vigorous "shape" chasing them. In this type of films, when you already know from beforehand what the major twist will be, it's still a lot of fun to pay close attention and fit all pieces of the puzzle together yourself. The script of "Rise of the Reeker" leaves plentiful of clues for alert viewers, but offers even more exhilaration and bloodshed for undemanding horror fanatics. Good performances, particularly from Michael Robert Brandon and the beautiful Valerie Cruz, surefooted direction and a marvelously depressing setting as well. Overall a much recommended film to fans of the genre.
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