Runtime: 86 minutes
Release Date: January 29, 2010
Director: Nick Cohen
I hate starting out with, "a group of friends set off on a weekend trip," but that's exactly how "The Reeds" begins. Celebrating the engagement of two of their friends, Laura, Joe, Mel, Nick, Helen, and Chris decide to rent a boat and spend some time together. While driving to the rental shop, they nearly hit a red-haired girl who runs out in front of their car. No one else really seems to notice her, but she looks Laura directly in the eye before running off into the wilderness.
As soon as they reach the rental shop, they learn that their boat isn't ready to go. They actually have to drive to the water and pick it up there. Once they arrive, they discover a group of teenagers on the boat. None of the teens speak to them, but after some rude comments and gesturing, the teens do leave. Only Laura notices that the red-haired girl from before is on the boat.
After heading onto the water, they notice another boat carefully winding its way through the reeds. Though Laura expresses some doubt, the others decide that it would be a great idea to follow that boat. They get so caught up in the idea that they don't even notice the large sign, warning boaters of No Entry. Naturally, things get weird when the sun sets. They start seeing the same teens running through the reeds, the other boat disappears, and it seems like something wants to kill every single person on board.
"The Reeds" was a surprisingly good horror film. Released in 2010 as part of the After Dark Horror Fest series, it came in the fourth year of that series when it seemed like they were scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find anything good. I've seen a handful of films from that year, and this one comes out at top, or at the very least, it's one of the best from that year.
The only flaw with the film is that things tend to get a little weird towards the end. There's one twist that seems pretty plausible, and this is the twist that people will probably see coming. Then, there's another twist that fits with the opening scenes of the film, but it's still a little odd. As if that wasn't enough, there's a third twist that comes seconds before the credits roll.
"The Reeds" has some spooky elements that I really liked. Who wouldn't freak out if they were on a boat in the middle of the night and saw things moving in the grass right next to the boat? You might convince yourself that it's just a rabbit, but what would you do when you looked back and saw two human eyes staring back at you? Believe it or not, that's actually a major scene in the film.
There is also a fair amount of blood and gore in the film. One man gets a piece of metal driven through his chest after the boat strikes something in the water. The film doesn't pull any punches; it literally shows the metal come through the boat and then through the man's body. To top it off, his friends actually use a rusty old saw that they find on the boat to cut the metal loose from his back and move him to another spot. His screams of pain sound so realistic that I actually winced once or twice.
Another bloody and gory scene comes when the group jumps from the boat after it catches on fire. When the fire spreads to some lantern fuel, it causes a massive fire, which spreads across the water due to the leaking fuel. One of the women discovers that her foot is caught under the water, and she is so scared that she neglects to dive under water like her friends, resulting in disgusting and dripping blood and flesh oozing down her face.
"The Reeds" got some pretty bad reviews when it first came out, but I thought it was a solid flick. It's no longer available on Netflix, but you can pick up copies of all the After Dark Horror Fest flicks pretty cheap.