DreadWorld Review: Grim Reapers (2015)


Writer/Director/Producer Cade Saint's new feature Grim Reapers is full of good intentions. Unfortunately, those good intentions do not necessarily translate to a good film.

When Jay's father goes missing, he enlists his friends help in locating him. But what they find is much more sinister than the average missing person case.

Grim Reapers is an exercise in patience. It's what is fairly, or unfairly, called by reviewers these days a "slow burn." Saint uses the first act of the film to set the mood. He touches briefly on 70's style Hammer horror, before settling on the more familiar first person "giallo" style that permeated dozens of Bava and Argento films. To his credit, Saint works with what he has, creating a creepy atmosphere with predictable, yet effective jump scares.

Where Grim Reapers falls apart is in it's stunted, almost non-existent dialogue. Stephen King once said that dialogue needs to "have a rhythm." While King was talking about writing dialogue for novels. The same rings true for dialogue in films. What a character says has to feel natural, it has to sound like people actually talk. Other than some some nice deliveries by lead Andrew Wilson Williams in the last 15 minutes for the film, the dialogue wastes any tension Saints visuals have built. As an aside, the lack of peoples ability to pick up the phone and call the police when someone goes missing is maddening. It's not only Grim Reapers that is guilty of this conceit, it happens in many films.

The other thing that plagues Grim Reapers is the fact that the characters are ridiculously stupid. There is an element of meta to the three main kids in the group. They have seen enough films to know that the best way to draw out evil is to leave the sole girl alone. Which is a pretty good trap - but then the two guys what are supposed to be protecting her fall asleep. One of the guys, who openly admits there is nothing to worry about, still feels to need to investigate the old creepy barn - alone. Just a mindbogglingly stupid decision. I understand the need to get certain characters certain places to drive the narrative, but there must have been smarter ways to accomplish this.

Cade Saint makes a game effort with Grim Reapers, but the film really just not that good. He spends too much time setting up atmosphere and doing things like making doors squeak rather than putting his characters in logical, scary situations.

** starts out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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