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The Reeds – 6

Director – Nick Cohen

Cast – Anna Brewster, Geoff Bell, Daniel Caltagirone, Emma Catherwood, O.T. Fagbenle, Scarlett Alice Johnson, Will Mellor, Scarlett Sabet, Natai Pauwels

Release Year – 2010

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After Darks’s The Reeds received a bit of positive buzz when it debuted as part of Horrorfest 4 and was crowned by most viewers as the stand out flick from the 8 film bunch. British horror films these days have their own look and feel, one that is heavy in both gloom and grain, and The Reeds is sure to satisfy those who appreciate such atmosphere. A psychological thriller that plays heavily on time warps, I was immediately reminded of another (superior) British horror film of the same likeness, Christopher Smith’s Triangle. While nowhere near the quality of Smith’s best film, The Reeds offers a somewhat clever story that manages to keep the viewer in the dark in the best way possible.

Set on enjoying a weekend boat party, a group of young Londoners find themselves fighting a terrifying secret hidden in the reeds.

The story comes written by the still unknown Chris Baker and I was quite impressed with his ability to tell a convoluted story in a fairly simple fashion. The story begins with a shotgun blast from a lonely man being pursued by an unseen assailant, and the lack of context seen in the film’s opening sequence will be a recurring theme for the remainder of the film. We get to know the protagonists fairly quickly and before long they are face to face with the terror that resides within the reeds, and while we cannot see the terror neither can they. Much like Triangle and films of the like, the protagonists are kept in the dark for the extreme majority of the film and so is the viewer. Personally I find this tactic pretty fun as it puts us in the shoes of those we are watching on the screen and allows us to envelop ourselves into the film. With stories like these it is hard to go into detail without giving away some major spoilers, but I will say that the twists and turns provided in Baker’s story may leave you questioning your own sanity for the bulk of the film.

Director Nick Cohen gives us pretty fair direction considering his lack of experience in the genre, and as I mentioned earlier the atmosphere gives us that gloomy feel fans of British horror enjoy. The sets and locations are just right for a film that places the characters in what is seemingly a nowhere to run scenario, and Cohen does a fantastic job of keeping a strong sense of dread throughout the film. I noticed some fair acting performances but nobody really stands out above the rest, and this is because The Reeds is not without directing faults. The execution of the horror could have been better and the “scare” scenes were a bit tame in my opinion, but Cohen manages to keep the psychological paranoia fairly high.

Overall, The Reeds is a somewhat bittersweet flick that offers an interesting story and mostly-positive direction but comes with faults that keep it from being a solid piece that I would recommend to everyone.

Rating: 6/10

  1. November 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Intriguing review, although in the end it sounds like the quality of this is pretty much what you’d expect from a director whose previous credits mainly involve working on cheesy soaps “Eastenders” and “Doctors”.

    Absolutely love the movie “Triangle”, but the director of that was Christopher Smith, not Michael.

    • November 18, 2013 at 12:48 am

      My apologies for the name mix-up. I’m not sure why I kept calling him Michael. I am a fan of Christopher’s entire filmography. He is one of the few current horror directors who has yet to do even a mediocre film.

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