No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker (Blu-ray) (2008)

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Released 26-Aug-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation-Montage from film, with original score
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(11:21) Standard def., 16x9, 1.78:1.
Featurette-Making Of-(5:12) The Production Team, 16x9, 1.78:1.
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(1:48) What Scares the Cast and Crew? 169, 1.78:1.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:00) Reeker, 16x9, 1.78:1. Inferior quality.
Theatrical Trailer-(1:39) The Rise of Reeker, 1080p, 16x9,1.78:1.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:42) Vicky Christina Barcelona, 4x3, 1.78:1
Theatrical Trailer-(1:34) Foreign Exchange, 4x3, 1.78:1
Theatrical Trailer-(1:56) Easy Virtue, 16x9, 2.351
Theatrical Trailer-(1:56) The Good Student, 16x9, 1.78:1
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 88:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Dave Payne
Studio
Distributor
CMG
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Michael Robert Brandon
Michael Muhney
Desmond Askew
Mircea Monroe
David Stanbra
Stephen Martines
Lyne Odums
Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Dave Payne


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English dts 5.1 (1920Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Essential prologue sequence.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

                           

      While other highly desirable titles are missing out on a high definition release,  some rather surprising titles are coming out on Blu-ray. About to be released by Gryphon on Blu-ray is the follow-up creation from the writer/director of 2005's Reeker, Dave Payne (TV's Addams Family Reunion). Encouraged by the cult success of the original film, Payne here delivers the sequel-prequel, No Man's Land : The Rise of Reeker.

    This second Reeker entry was one of eight titles contained in a box set released overseas in 2008 under the Lionsgate banner, a product of Ghost House Pictures founded by Sam Raimi, himself recently returning to horror with Drag Me to Hell, and Robert Tapert (Evil Dead 2). I confess to not having seen the original film, but it appears that, in this particular instance, ignorance may be an advantage. Those who have seen both films consistently criticise The Rise of Reeker for not covering any fresh territory, instead merely rehashing what was already learnt in the original. Most of what is new is found in the prologue to the film, a 1978 flashback, which reveals the origins of "The Reeker", who has earned his name because of the foul, putrid stench which emanates from his corrupt and decaying body. This sequence contains a truly gory and horrific murder, in which the weapon used is a motor vehicle. Unfortunately the "thrills" that follow do not measure up to this initial onslaught. This highway murder was committed by the Death Valley Drifter (Michael Robert Brandon), a particularly nasty serial killer, who surrenders himself to  young Deputy McAllister (David Stanbra), who is promoted for his "brave" deed. The serial killer is executed. That was thirty years ago.

    We cut to present day, and at a remote desert diner "old" Sheriff McAllister (Robert Pine) is breakfasting with his estranged son, Harris (Michael Muhney), served by an earthily blonde waitress, Maya (Mircea Monroe). The sheriff is retiring, this actually is his last day, and he is ready to hand over to his son, despite junior's clouded past. Three bandits from a casino robbery turn up at the diner - one Maya's ex-lover - and terrorise all and sundry. Then a masked killer - the source of a particularly vile stench - arrives from the desert, and one by one the criminals, the police and the innocent bystanders begin to be annihilated. The Reeker is back, apparently from the dead. Heads are blown apart, bodies dismembered, or sliced in two, toilets and septic tanks feature prominently, a soul-catcher from Indian legend becomes involved and an invisible shield or barrier "appears" in the desert, effectivel;y imprisoning everyone at or around the diner. This is all rampant nonsense, complete with a learned explanation of it all. It seems that The Reeker is actually a soul collector ... but I won't spoil it for you.

    Obviously working with a very limited budget, Dave Payne has created a passable little gorefest that will probably please fans of the genre. With the photography making the most of Californian desert locations, the film generally looks fine. However, the budgetary limitations are always present in the shape of the barely passable performances, with only Michael Muhney rising a little above the general level. The writing is also extremely weak, deficient in invention, characterisation and dialogue. At one stage Monroe's character pretends to have thrown a car key down the toilet, a pay-back to her ex-lover, who is forced to plunge into the septic tank to look for the key. Once he has completely submerged himself in excrement, the girl dangles the key triumphantly in front of his eyes. Gotcha! This stupid piece of writing is just an unbelievable, and ludicrous waste of screen time. It does appear that Payne has a toilet/septic fetish, as these items appear prominently throughout the film. OK, the "villain" is The Reeker, I get that he smells, as do toilets and human waste, but enough is enough. On the plus side, Payne does strike an enjoyable balance between the gory horror and some lighter comedic moments. There are also a couple of mildly surprising revelations along the way, but this was only because I did not know the first film. If you've seen Reeker, no revelations! Mostly the effects are OK, particularly the opening highway murder and the partially demolished head of one of the characters. Unfortunately sustaining  the latter must have been beyond the available finances, as, in consideration for other characters' sensibilities, the partially faceless one conceals his living horror by promptly pulling a plastic bag over his head. Undoubtedly a supermarket plastic bag was more economical than sustaining the special effect.

    Definitely not a classic of the genre, but quite an acceptable little horror flick that looks very good in high definition, and sounds great.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film itself may be "B" grade, but the image isn't. The Rise of Reeker is given a very fine 1080p high definition transfer, one that adds greatly to the "enjoyment" of the film.
 
    The film presented  in a 16x9 enhanced transfer at the ratio of 1.78:1, the original having been 1.85:1.
    The makers have chosen a subdued palette, giving quite a washed-out, sun-drenched look to much of the action, perfectly suited to the desert location.
    Browns are emphasized, with the prologue sequence so limited in its colour that it almost looks like sepia.
    The image is generally sharp, with good detail in most scenes, especially the close-ups.
    Skin tones do suffer as a consequence of the subdued colour.
    There are numerous darker scenes, such as the septic tank episode, and detail is at times lost in these sequences.
    There is some low level noise, and very slight edge enhancement, but these are only minor problems.
    Although not up to the standard of the best Blu-ray releases, on a fifty-five inch screen this low budget effort looked pretty good.
  
             
    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is one audio stream, DTS encoded at 2.00 Mbps.

    The audio on this film is of very good quality, showing no sign of budget restrictions.
    The dialogue is sharp and clear, with every syllable intelligible even amidst the macabre mayhem.
    There were no sync problems.
    The surround channels are utilised extensively, supplying the desert ambience and often startling special effects.
    There is often frantic movement across the fronts, and The Reeker himself has a fine time rampaging around the entire sound field.
    Particularly effective use is made of the rear channels.
    Dramatic use is also made of the LFE channel, both for the music and adding general threatening undercurrent to scenes meant to instil horror in the audience.
    The aforementioned music, by the same Dave Payne, is unexceptional and predictable, but the full  six channel reproduction gives it quite an impact.

    As befits this type of film, turn up the sound and this soundtrack delivers the shocks and jolts the director intended.
    

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

The release comes with what appears to be a fair bag of extras, but in fact there is very little substance or, for that matter, quantity.


Main Menu
An attractive main page, in full brilliant 1080p, has a montage of key action sequences from the film. In fact, too much of the content is revealed here. Audio provides Payne's original music from the film.

Options presented are :
                                   Play
                                   Scene Selection : Select this option and a single strip of twelve thumbnails - no animation - pops up at the top of the menu screen.
                                   Special Features : See below for details.
                                   Dynamic HD - Live : These additional features are accessible for players with BD-Live (Profile 2.0).
                                   Trailers : Four theatrical trailers - see below for details.

Special Features

Featurettes : These three featurettes are all presented in standard definition, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. All are 16x9 transfers presented at the ratio of 1.78:1.

Behind the Scenes : (11:21)
Hosted by writer director David Payne and his spouse, producer Linda Payne, various members of cast and crew congratulate themselves on the fruit of their labours. Be warned that this feature does contain spoilers. Cast and crew discuss characterisation, the hardships of the Californian desert location, the mechanics of the special effects , in particular the major explosions of the movie. Not bad, and fast paced. Poor quality image, particularly the snippets from the film itself.

Production Team : (5:12)
Members of the technical team (Surprise!) tell us what they do. "I make pictures happen !" Very lame stuff.

What Scares the Cast and Crew? (1:48)
This is even worse. Spiders, rodents ... who cares?

Original Theatrical Trailers :

The two "Reeker" trailers are presented.
The original in presented in standard definition, 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. The image is grainy. (2:00)
The sequel/prequel is presented in high definition, 1080p, with DTS 2.0 audio. (1:39)

Theatrical Trailers

Four trailers of  unrelated films are offered, all presented in standard definition with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
The trailers are for :

Vicky Christina Barcelona (2:42) : Presented at 1.78:1, in a 4x3 transfer.
Foreign Exchange (1:34) : Presented at 1.78:1, in a 4x3 transfer.
Easy Virtue (1:56) : Presented at 2.35:1, in a 16x9 transfer.
The Good Student (1:56) : Presented at 1.78:1, in a 16x9 transfer
 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is no Blu-ray release of this film in the US, but the standard definition release has these additional features :

* Storyboard to Screen Comparison (2:39)
* Feature Length Commentary by David Payne and various members of cast and crew.

Summary

    There is enough here to satisfy admirers of the genre, and if you haven't seen the original Reeker movie, it is probably all the better. Performances and dialogue are weak, but that's par for the course. Adding to anyone's enjoyment is the fact that the Blu-ray transfer looks very fine indeed, and the audio really does deliver. The director keeps things ripping along at a fine pace, balancing the horror and comedy nicely for much of the time.It all adds up to just under ninety minutes of fairly enjoyable gory fun.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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