Dream Reaper Movie Review
Written by Rosie Fletcher
DVD released by Hack Movies
Written and directed by Kevin Strange
2006, 75 minutes, Not rated
Kevin Strange as Willy Nutsack
Joshitsuo Montoya as Dick Gibson
Cris Deveroux as Tiffany
Chadwick Cockstriker as Hwang Johnson
Jon the band guy as Peter Johnson
Lippy Longstocking as Gargamel/Ninja
Android 4K as bystander
Matt Ringering as Dream Reaper
Willy Nutsack is having strange dreams. While he’s sleeping, a masked man comes to him and tells him that unless he dissolves his band, “Dream Reaper”, he and the band members will come to horrible ends. What is Willy to do? He doesn’t want to give up the band and all he’s worked for, but some nasty things seem to be happening to the other musicians. Willy and his friends need to take some evasive action, and fast.
Made and released by Hack Movies, an independent production company founded by Reaper writer/director/lead actor Kevin Strange, Dream Reaper is a "no-budget horror comedy", and looks as if its been made over a long weekend by a group of friends with nothing to do. Before I go any further let's establish one fundamental thing: this film is dreadful. The plot is scant and pointless (and a bit of a rip off), the humour repetitive and base, the acting across the board terrible (with the slight exception of Matt Ringering, as the Dream Reaper, doing his best Dr Evil impression) and the 'effects' beyond any level of appalling that I've encountered before. However, for what it is — an amateur film made by friends for a very small budget, that has no pretensions of being anything other than a bit of fun — it's actually not as bad as all that.
In a slumming it, cheap, childish kind of way it is a bit of fun. The thing about the team behind Dream Reaper is that they seem like nice people. They look like they've enjoyed making the film and in some way this is translated to the viewer; watching Dream Reaper isn't the ordeal it really ought to be, bearing in mind the lack of anything to recommend it.
Sophisticated this isn't. Almost all of the jokes in Dream Reaper are about wanking or homosexuality (or both). With a lead character called Willy Nutsack, you'll pretty much know what to expect in terms of humour (although Chadwick Cockstriker is a much funnier name than Hwang Johnson - I think they missed a trick here). However, there are occasional moments of flair. There's a nice scene with a fight between one of the band members and a ninja, and I couldn't help but smile at the Dream Reaper's victory dance. There's an overarching feeling of silliness and enjoyment that stops this film from being self indulgent and annoying.
While the effects are shockingly bad, some of the camera work, and the use of music is rather good for an amateur film. There are several imaginative segues between scenes and some nice cuts and angle changes. During the ninja fight, particularly, there are some interesting uses of perspective and even some nods in the direction of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Dream Reaper isn't going to be getting a cinema release, you won't be catching this film in the early hours on a cable channel and you're unlikely to be able to pick up a copy from Blockbuster, but if someone you know happens to have a copy and you're very tired or very drunk you could do worse than putting it on (although it goes without saying you could do better, too).
In good conscience I really can't give this any more than 1.5 stars, but I'm hoping in future projects, like their upcoming It Came from My Pants, Hack Movies will work to their strengths and maintain their sense of fun, but perhaps spend a few more minutes on the script.
Bloopers – aka "virtually every take we didn't use in the film".
Intro – introduction to the cast and crew – you certainly get the impression that none of them are playing characters particularly different to themselves, though what that implies in relation to all the wanking, I don't know.
FX tutorial – how they made squirty fake blood. Might have been nice to know what the decision to use a pair of pink tights for entrails was based on, too.
Commentary – Audio commentary from the cast. If you enjoyed Dream Reaper or if you're interested in low budget film making then the commentary is likely to appeal to you. Banter and joking around is combined with bits of info about how the film was made.
This is a screener so I'm not going to rate the picture and sound quality.