Jack the Reaper – USA, 2011

‘Everyone dances with the Reaper…’

Jack the Reaper is a 2011 American horror feature film written and directed by Kimberly Seilhamer. The movie stars Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination, Hatchet), Sally Kirkland (GnawDouble Exposure, Fatal Games), Douglas Tait (Stitch), David Beeler, Chris Bruno, Joel Bryant and Stacey Carino.

Review:

Beyond the catchpenny crassness of the title, you’ll find a middling teen horror that doesn’t offer anything particularly new and finally leaves you which a sense of ‘huh?’.

A group of teens turns up on a Saturday morning to undergo a school trip as punishment for a missed homework assignment. The kids arrive one by one in order to make room for the back stories that horror films now think their cannon fodder needs. So we have the typically crass jock, his more sensitive brother who has just discovered that his girlfriend is pregnant, the spoilt brat, the deaf girl and her cousin (who has a crush of the aforementioned jock), the repressed fat kid, the albino and the possibly-being-abused-by-daddy girl.

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The teens all head out to a local railroad museum, where they encounter Tony Todd, making one of his one-day, take the money and run appearances where he hams it up, lays on the sinisterness with a trowel and rambles on about railroad deaths and someone called Railroad Jack, who may or may not haunt the local area. The kids look as baffled as the viewer may be by all this, but sure enough, on the way home one of the girls freaks out after seeing a man at the side of the road (I mean, when does that ever happen?) before the bus driver is thrown into a swerve by the appearance of something in the road…

Unfortunately, you have to wait until we’re 51 minutes into the film -– having ‘enjoyed’ plenty of footage of teenagers on merry-go-rounds in the interim –- before the first kill. Railroad Jack -– a decently impressive character with missing eyes and a sinister demeanour –- starts killing off the kids in the traditional body count manner. Who will survive and will anyone watching care?

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Jack the Reaper suffers from gaping plot holes, a level of illogical behaviour that even your regular horror characters might raise an eyebrow at and –- most heinously –- delayed gratification for the viewers who have tuned in to see a supernatural psycho offing annoying teens in inventive ways. The characters are all pretty irritating –- even those we are supposed to like -– and waiting the best part of an hour to see any of them killed is pretty unforgivable in a film that exists solely to show those scenes. What’s more, the actual killings lack any sense of invention or drama.

It’s a pity because, on many levels, Jack the Reaper is considerably better than you might expect. It’s reasonably well-shot and the acting is decent, if unremarkable – given that they are playing stereotypes and sub-teen soap cast offs, the actors do a mostly solid job. Railroad Jack is a better supernatural monster than has been seen in many a bigger budget film and probably deserves a better script – one that actually gives him something to do despite look creepy.

Jack the Reaper ends with a whimper rather than a bang and unfortunately that just about sums the film up. A nice try, it’s ultimately let down by a screenplay that has plenty of ideas yet little coherence.

David Flint, HORRORPEDIA

JackTheReaper

Jack the Reaper

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14 Comments on “Jack the Reaper – USA, 2011”

  1. First off the girl in the end jesse when she wakes up inthe ambulance she screams my question is THERE GOING TO BE A SECOND MOVIE BECAUSE OF THE END OF THE Movie and this movie is really awesome I think they should make a second one

  2. The perverted cowboy reaper will be the one to eventually get the girls soul. I believe she will reacieve her downfall at the hands of her pervertive father(note: her pervertive father at the beginning of the film). The girl realizes this and screams after the paramedic tells her that someone is waiting for her. She doesn’t want to go back to the life with her father. The others died by train or some other collision so the railroad reaper took them. The girl who survived may die by some perverted action at the hands of her dad.

  3. Why so negative? It’s not meant to impress everyone. The essence of teenagers is nothing but stereotypical. And I don’t think it’s always necessary to follow the common template of a movie plot (beginning, middle, climax, end). People get pissed when there’s no climax, I find it interesting. And there isn’t always a purpose or a “moral to the story”. Sometimes it’s just a story to be told.

  4. What is it with the cowboy at the end? He had a teddy bear tied up to his saddle, made a perverted gesture and rides back into the shadows. After a brief description on who he is and what he does to those on the road, nothing. The girl in the bus survives and taunting unseen characters whisper to her that they are eagerly awaiting her.More questions are left than anything. If a good writer could salvage anything out of this wreckage, it would be something good. There is potential for a franchise. Then again, it would be borrowing from Hellraiser, Evil Dead, Phantasm and many other film where alternate dimensions that are home to supernatural sadists.

    1. My opinion is the girl will reach her downfall by her father( who we realize is a pervert to his own daughter in the beginning of the film) and the cowboy reaper who is being pervertive at the end to her will be the one to take her when her time comes. This is the reason she screams once the paramedic mentions some one is waiting for her (her father). She doesn’t want to go back to that life.

  5. Who is perverted cowboy licking his teeth at the end of the film? Something was said about the end of the road, then it went nowhere.

  6. I have been meaning to check this out, saw it at Walmart. Big fan of Tony Todd since Candyman, and I have become a fan of the many characters Douglas Tait has played. I will still check it out.

    1. First off the girl in the end jesse when she wakes up inthe ambulance she screams my question is THERE GOING TO BE A SECOND MOVIE BECAUSE OF THE END OF THE Movie and this movie is really awesome I think they should make a second one

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