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DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest IV – The Reeds
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The Reeds
DIRECTOR: Nick Cohen
STARRING: Karl Ashman, Geoff Bell, Anna Brewster, Daniel Caltagirone, Emma Catherwood, Scarlett Alice Johnson, O.T. Fagbenle
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2010

For four straight years now, After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For has been unleashed. Eight original horror films to quench your thirst for blood and gore and screams galore. Last year I was able to check out and review their third collection of horrors (Read: DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest III: 8 Films To Die For), and was rather excited to check out their new slate this year! Instead of cramming every review into one mammoth review, this year we’ll take it one flick at a time, with this little opener stuck at the top of each one.

The next title in our massive Horrorfest IV review collection comes out of the UK and is called The Reeds. The movie tells the story of a group of friends who set off on a little boat trip together. Things don’t get off to the best start when they discover the boat they had reserved is a mess and can’t be used, but their luck changes when they’re offered a special vessel called the Corsair Star. They find the boat swarming with a group of troublemaker kids, but once they get them to move away, the party begins with drinking and laughing and dancing and maybe some skinny dipping (no, not the good kind, guys).

The thing is, the group decided to make their trek through the Norfolk Broads, a network of navigable channels and an endless amount of thick reeds. When they add to the poor decisions by trying to take a shortcut, things go very wrong very quickly and they find themselves stuck and one of them badly injured. On top of that, nighttime is fast approaching and they’re seeing and hearing very strange things coming from the reeds — things that don’t appear to be friendly.

For me, The Reeds is a two-part venture. Through the first 45 minutes or so, I was entertained: I liked the characters and the acting I was seeing. I was interested in where the story was going and what kind of evil beasts could be lurking in these endless reeds, and things seemed to be going well. The two movies are very different, but as this movie got moving, I had a similar feeling to the one I had when I watched my favorite title from last year’s Horrorfest, Dying Breed.

Regretfully, once I hit the half-way point, things began to spiral out of control, and looked to be facing an imminent and vicious impact.

I don’t want to get into spoilers, but the issue I have with The Reeds is that it loses itself completely. Little pieces are set in place to build toward whatever the hell is going on in this nightmare of a place, but the filmmakers lose control of the situation with each additional piece. By the time the movie reaches its climax and everything is out on the table, none of it really feels like it fits properly.

For me, there was a really cool creature feature hiding somewhere within this movie, and instead they chose to go with more of a ghost story, and that’s as much as I’ll share. The ghost story in question is where the root of all the film’s problems exist. All of these crazy situations and twists occur, but none of them make much sense. Things just happen for the sake of happening and weak explanations to this wild phenomena will leave you wanting and unfulfilled.

It’s a shame, really, that a movie that showed so much promise fell apart like this. But in some kind of cruel, ironic twist, the movie ended up much like the Corsair Star: off-course and lost before crashing and getting itself hopelessly stuck.


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