No Man’s Land: Reeker II (2008)

No Man's Land: Reeker 2 (2008)

Trapped between the living and the dead. Again.

At a desert gas station and diner, a group of criminals who have just robbed a casino and taken some hostages run into a retiring sheriff and his deputy son and a gun fight ensues. But soon after, the criminals, the cops and the other people caught up in the shoot-out realise that there is something terribly wrong as people who should be dead are not and all contact with the outside world is lost. They are in a fight for their lives as the mysterious creature known as the Reeker comes calling.

 

A prequel that is a virtually a remake, No Man’s Land: Reeker II treads exactly the same ground as the first one. If you’ve seen the first Reeker, then you’ll know what the big twist is at the end. Given the nature of the Reeker creature and why it exists, then you’ll know exactly that the same thing will happen in this one. So a lot of the surprise element has gone and unfortunately this makes the whole affair very lacklustre and predictable. We know the ‘rules’ of the Reeker and the world between life and death that it inhabits so we know how the characters need to play the game to survive. Having said that, if you haven’t seen the original then you’ll have no idea what is going on. Even so, don’t bother with this one and track the original down. It may be just as shamefully derivative of other films but at least it’s a bit better than this one.

No Man’s Land: Reeker II is essentially the same film but just set in a slightly different location (still a remote place in the middle of nowhere) with different characters. It’s written, directed and produced by David Payne who did the same jobs on the original. Someone forgot to tell him that lightning doesn’t strike twice and he can’t just make the same film again without someone realising! The Reeker is given some back story here with an opening scene which explains how the creature came to be. I thought it worked a lot better when you didn’t know what the crack with it was. Now I know what happened to it and that it was previously human, a lot of its menace and eeriness was lost. I don’t know why people find it necessary to explain everything and give all of these cinematic monsters some back story. Sometimes our imagination can be more powerful.

The creature itself is still well-designed, pretty damned awesome in fact and one of the glaring problems here is that it’s not on the screen for long enough. The tools-for-hands it uses as weapons are great and this time there’s even a flame thrower implement to be used! There’s some attempted gore effects with caved-in heads, half a body running around, a dead bird flying past the camera (arguably the film’s funniest shot) and more but due to the shoddy CGI, these splatter moments look poor. Whatever happened to corn syrup and fake body parts? It was always much more realistic. A few of the set pieces are entertaining in their ingenuity – unfortunately some of the characters realise that there is an invisible field surrounding their current location a little too late and end up a little more damaged than they would like.

But these are characters we don’t really care about. The teenagers in the original weren’t great but Tina Illman made for a sweet and sympathetic leading lady and Devon Gummersall managed to eek out some pity with his blind character. Here the characters are terrible and the acting isn’t much better. I nearly choked on my beer when the sheriff said it was his last day and that he was retiring – dear me will this poor guy make it out of the film alive? To make matters worse, he has a strained relationship with his son who is going to be taking over.

Too much time is spent wasted on other secondary characters who don’t serve any purpose to the film. Not many of the characters here do serve a purpose other than to be served up on a smorgasbord to the Reeker. The cast is rounded off by a bunch of hopeless bit part players who no doubt will be appearing as non-speaking extras sometime soon. It’s unfortunate that they have so little to work with though as the script doesn’t set the world alight. It’s hard to get into a film when you know what is coming at the end and I guess that’s how everyone in the cast felt judging by their performances.

 

The first one was decent and I enjoyed it. Making a prequel with exactly the same story and exactly the same twist is one of the most pointless things I’ve seen. No Man’s Land: Reeker II is alright if you haven’t seen the first one. But if you have, then get the air freshener out and eliminate the foul stench emanating from this bad boy.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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