Grim Reaper (DVD) - Dread Central
Connect with us


Grim Reaper (DVD)



Grim Reaper reviewStarring Cherish Lee, Brent Fidler, Benjamin Pitts, Nick Mathis, Adam Fortrin

Directed by Michael Feifer

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Sometimes a movie ends up being bad in the most basic manner in which a film can be. I’m talking about a bad movie that’s bad because it’s badly written, badly directed, badly acted, and there’s just a general overall cloud of badness hovering over the production. Grim Reaper is such a bad movie and it’s capital B-A-D bad.

Now rather than recount the plot I’m just going to default to the synopsis provided on the DVD case:

“Death comes for us all, but after surviving a car crash that should have taken her life, Rachel Wilson finds herself stalked by the Grim Reaper himself intending on taking a soul he feels he is owed. Barely conscious in the ER room, Rachel struggles to convince the nurses that Death is coming for her and that her life is hanging in the balance. Supposedly, for her own protection, Rachel is locked up in a secure mental health facility. But it’s not long before she discovers that her incarceration in the old hospital was no coincidence, surrounded by six other “patients” who, themselves, have cheated death. Over the course of the night they will have to face their worst fears, their own mortality, and Death himself.”

Toss in her med student boyfriend’s desperate search to find and rescue her, a person who may or may not be a guardian angel walking amongst man, a sickly doctor with sinister motives, the occasional pointless dream sequence tossed in for a cheap jolt, and a lot of mumbo jumbo about timelines, the “circle of fate,” and how changing them can help you cheat death a second time, and you wind up with a potentially creepy premise that totally flops due to being poorly told, flatly directed, and insultingly stupid by the end. It also doesn’t help that the acting is almost consistently weak, which is definitely not good given how hokey the dialogue already is.

The first 12 minutes of Grim Reaper were so perplexingly put together that I was convinced it was going to be one of those horror movies where you’re constantly wondering what’s real, what’s imagined, what’s a dream, what’s a delusion, and maybe even what plane of existence the characters are on. But instead it just turned out to be a rather drab slasher flick (although I suspect the filmmakers wouldn’t readily cop to the film being just another slasher flick) with the grim reaper cast as a scythe-slashing maniac sluggishly stalking a bunch of whiny twenty-something’s trapped in a dimly lit building with a lot of dank corridors and industrial pipe works. The movie creeps along about as listlessly as the grim reaper walks and stalks; attempts to generate atmosphere or suspense fall well short.

I was almost 100% positive that it was going to be revealed that all these characters that had cheated death were really stuck in some sort of purgatory world where the grim reaper had difficulty finishing the job. To the film’s credit, what seemed so obvious to me turned out to not be the case. Although, in retrospect, the explanation we do get is so inane that maybe they should have gone with the purgatory idea. I won’t give it away but I will tell this; if you ever find yourself having to play Death in a game to determine your fate, challenge him to a game of Hide & Seek because apparently death really sucks at the seeking part. That or the explanation we’re given would indicate that the grim reaper is just really lazy. Either way, the explanation is just plain dumb.

The grim reaper as portrayed in this film is stupid, lethargic, and wimpy. For a supernatural being that’s supposed to be the very embodiment of death itself and who’s only purpose is to deal out death, Grim Reaper succeeds in making the grim reaper both not scary and rather incompetent at his job. You know something is wrong when the title character from the movie Skeleton Man – who wasn’t even supposed to be the grim reaper even though that’s exactly what it looked like – ends up being a more menacing grim reaper figure than the one in a horror movie actually called Grim Reaper. The grim reaper on the box art is far scarier than the mysterious figure in a Jedi cloak lurking about in the movie itself. Even the grim reaper from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was more menacing. And the reaper does indeed appear to be highly inept at his own job. For crying out loud, the makers of this movie actually want us to believe that the very specter of death itself can be thwarted by running it over with a car!

Then there’s the matter of the finale with Rachel and the reaper – now sans hooded cloak and looking like a more mummified version of Thundercats’ nemesis Mum-Ra – inside some sort of netherworld necropolis playing what I would describe as a game of cat & mouse except they walk about aimlessly at such a slow pace and have so little interaction with one another that a more befitting description would be to call it a game of turtle & sloth.

And would you believe there’s yet one more final twist on top of it that seemingly renders everything you’ve just watched null and void?

I swear this is the sort of production that in ye olden days would have moved audiences to begin booing loudly and chucking tomatoes at the screen. Grim Reaper went from confusing bad to boring bad to predictably bad to “Holy crap, this is retarded!” bad and then back to boring bad all over the course of 80 minutes. Even though I’m reviewing it in December of 2006, since this film doesn’t actually hit DVD shelves until January of 2007, I’m fully prepared to call Grim Reaper an early frontrunner for worst movie of 2007.

1/2 out of 5

Discuss Grim Reaper in our forums!

Continue Reading


IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor



Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light


IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

User Rating 5 (2 votes)
Continue Reading


The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell



Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

Directed by John Law

I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

  • Film


The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading


Before We Vanish Review – A Quirky and Original Take on Alien Invasions



Starring Masami Nagasawa, Ryûhei Matsuda, Hiroki Hasegawa

Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

During the J-horror rampage of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (aka Pulse). A dark, depressing, and morose tale of ghosts that use the internet to spread across the world, the film’s almost suffocatingly gloomy atmosphere pervaded across every frame of the film. Because of my love of this film, I was eager to see the director’s upcoming movie Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha (aka Before We Vanish), which follows three aliens who recently arrived on Earth and are preparing to bring about an alien invasion that will wipe humanity from the face of the planet. Imagine my surprise when the film turned out to be barely a horror title but was instead a quirky and surreal dramedy that tugged at my heartstrings.

Admittedly, I was thrown completely for a loop as the film begins with a scene that feels perfectly at home in a horror film. Akira (Tsunematsu), a teenage girl, goes home and we enter moments later to blood splashed on the walls and floor and bodies strewn about. However, the disturbing visuals are spun around as the young girl walks down a highway, her clothes and face streaked with blood, Yusuke Hayashi’s music taking on a lighthearted, almost jaunty attitude. From there, we learn of the other two aliens (yes, she’s an alien and it’s not a secret or a twist, so no spoilers there): Amano (Takasugi), who is a young man that convinces a sleazy reporter, Sakurai (Hasegawa), of his true form and tasks Sakurai with being his guide, and Shinji (Matsuda), the estranged husband of Narumi (Nagasawa).

What sets these aliens, and their mission, apart from other invasion thrillers is their means of gathering information. They’re not interested in meeting leaders nor do they capture people for nefarious experimentations. Rather, they steal “concepts” from the minds of people, such as “family”, “possession”, or “pest”. Once these concepts are taken, the victim no longer has that value in their mind, freed from its constraints.

While this may seem like a form of brainwashing, Kurosawa instead plays with the idea that maybe knowing too much is what holds us back from true happiness. A man obsessed with staking claim to his family home learns to see the world outside of its walls when “possession” is no longer a part of his life. A touchy boss enters a state of child-like glee after “work” has been taken. That being said, there are other victims who are left as little more than husks.

Overly long at 130 minutes, the film does take its time showing the differences between the aliens and their individual behaviors. Amano and Akira are casually ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to send a beacon to begin the alien invasion, no matter how many must die along the way, while Shinji is the curious and almost open-minded one, whose personal journey finds him at one point asking a priest to envision and describe “love”, a concept that is so individualistic and personal that it can’t be taken, much less fathomed, by this alien being. While many of these scenes are necessary, they could have easily been edited down to shave 10-15 minutes, making the film flow a bit more smoothly.

While the film begins on a dark note, there is a scene in the third act that is so pure and moving that tears immediately filled my eyes and I choked up a little. It’s a moment of both sacrifice and understanding, one that brings a recurring thread in the story full circle.

With every passing minute, Before We Vanish makes it clear that it’s much more horror-adjacent than horror. An alien invasion thriller with ultimate stakes, it will certainly have appeal to genre fans. That being said, those who go in expecting action, violence, and terror will certainly be disappointed. But those whose mind is a bit more open to a wider range of possibilities will find a delightful story that attempts to find out what it means to be human, even if we have to learn the lesson from an alien.

  • Before We Vanish


Before We Vanish is a beautiful, wonderful tale that explores what it means to be human when faced with the threat of extinction.

Continue Reading

Recent Comments


Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!


Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC