Dream Reaper (2006) – By Jordan Garren

 Before I begin, I’d just like to thank the star and director of this film, Kevin Strange. Because of him, I’m getting the chance to do something I have not been able to do in quite some time: review a truly bad movie! Quite frankly, I’ve been very lucky in recent months. With all the screeners I’ve been receiving and watching, you’d think I would’ve ended up watching some real sh*tty movies. Well looks like my streak of good luck has ended because Kevin Strange’s Dream Reaper is so godawful that I nearly turned it off, several times, and that my friends is something I rarely, if ever, contemplate. I’m sorry to say this about Kevin’s feature-length film debut, but Dream Reaper should be buried in an unmarked grave in the middle of nowhere.

Dream Reaper is the story of a "rock group" called "Dream Reaper" that’s led by Willy Nutsack (Kevin Strange), an untalented singer with an obsession about singing metal songs about sea serpents and fairies. His drummer is Hwang Johnson, a hippie that’s obsessed with ninjas; his bass player is Dick Gibson (who turns out to be a homosexual) and the rest of the band consists of Tiffany (the only girl in the movie and smartest person in the band), and Peter Johnson (a comatose guitarist that just stands around and never talks or moves). Willy’s band sucks but he refuses to see that and also refuses to break up the band after he’s visited by an actual "Dream Reaper." Apparently the other reapers are always making fun of this nightmare-inducing dream demon so his goal is to either break up the band, or kill all the band members.

One by one, the dream reaper begins taking out all of the band-members until only Willy is left. With the help of a constantly masturbating supernatural character named Gargamel (no, not the old guy from "The Smurfs" haha), Willy gets a giant (plastic) sword and battles the dream reaper to the death. After a way-too-long sword fight with plastic weapons, Willy overcomes the dream reaper and decapitates it. At the end of the film, as Willy climbs into bed and prepares for sleep after his ordeal, the dream reaper’s hands burst from behind his pillows in order to strangle him. Unfortunately, you won’t get the satisfaction of seeing Willy die because the scene freezes and then fades to the end credits.

Ok, so first off my main problem with this film is that it poorly imitates A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. The Dream Reaper is a cheap knock-off of Freddy Krueger that is neither scary nor witty, and while I watched this movie, I couldn’t help but yearn for the hijinks of the "Springwood Slasher." Another huge problem I had with this flick was the fact that so many scenes just dragged on. Kevin Strange edited this film down to seventy-five minutes, but he could have easily chopped it down to at least an hour (or preferably down to a half hour) in order for things to move along at a better pace. Which brings me to the film’s excessively long masturbation scenes.

I’m not offended by masturbation, in fact, I champion masturbation to the masses. It’s a natural thing, so just go with it and don’t feel guilty afterwards. God will not strike you down for rubbing one out, and your touching yourself at night isn’t the reason that the dinosaurs died. However, when a good ten minutes (maybe even twenty minutes?) of your movie involves someone whacking-off, it sort of loses its humor and shock value. Seriously, every character in the film sits down at some point and just starts waxing their carrot (even Tiffany!). The first minute of the first masturbation sequence was funny, but everything after that was just plain tedious and annoying. Masturbation definitely helped kill this movie!

But I’m not done yet folks, because this movie continued to accrue strikes against itself. The effects in this flick are laughable and it seems like they used toilet paper or paper towels doused in red-colored water (or cherry Kool-Aid) to represent bodily damage and torn flesh. Yes I know that the budget for this flick was probably non-existent, but these guys don’t even seem to be trying. There’s even a head-crushing scene where a watermelon was used, and they don’t even try and disguise the watermelon. It occurred to me that this was done on purpose, and it did elicit a laugh from me, but then ten minutes later someone started masturbating again. (WHY?!) So at this point, you may be wondering, "Gee Jordan, isn’t there anything redeeming about this movie at all?"

Well this was made to be a horror/comedy and Dream Reaper does deliver some genuine laughs. Willy Nutsack’s training montage at the film’s climax gave me a laugh, and the two cumshots we see in the film (I wonder if that’s hand lotion) lead to two hilarious moments. In fact, the movie had quite a few humorous scenes and plenty of funny dialogue, but every time I’d finally get a good laugh, another character would start whacking off and just kill the mood. (ARGH!) The bottom line here folks is that this movie is bad, and not in the "so bad it’s good" sense. I’m sure that Kevin Strange’s heart was in the right place, but this movie just failed on too many levels.

I can’t with a clear conscience, recommend this film at all. Even if you’re a fan of low and no-budget films (especially any that are made by Troma or the guys from Low Budget Pictures) and a fellow fan of masturbation, I don’t think that you’d be able to sit through the full seventy-five minutes of this film. With that said, I harbor no ill will toward Kevin Strange and hope that he does keep making films. And I wouldn’t mind watching any of them, because like I said, there’s plenty of room for improvement here. As he and the rest of the gang from Hack Movies keep churning out films, they’ll get better at what they do and hopefully their budgets will grow so that they can put a little more into the makeup and gore effects. Oh, and it’d be great if in the future they’d have less masturbation in their films. That’d be a huge plus!

The DVD for Dream Reaper is available for purchase at www.hackmovies.com for $10. The disc includes an intro from Kevin Strange and the Hack Movies crew, a blooper reel, a Special FX Tutorial from Kevin Strange, and a Feature Length Commentary from the Hack Crew. As I only got a screener, I really would’ve liked to hear what Kev and the gang had to say about the making of this film and get their thoughts on how the final product turned out. Currently the Hack Movies crew is working on their newest film…… It Came From My Pants! It’s due out in Fall of 2006 and hopefully will have a lot less masturbation than Dream Reaper. Sheesh… seems to me that these guys have an unhealthy fixation on male genitalia. I wonder what Freud would think of all this? Hmmm…..