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The Reaper Man

average rating is 3 out of 5


Chris Olson


Posted on:

Jul 19, 2023

Film Reviews
The Reaper Man
Directed by:
Jaron Lockridge
Written by:
Jaron Lockridge
Jessica Jai Johnson, Kenon Walker, Ebony Bivens

When a group of thieves end up killing her husband Joseph (Kenon Walker), it leaves Jessica (Jessica Jai Johnson) desperate enough to seek the help of a local mystic who is able to resurrect people. Regrettably, the Joseph that returns is not the same as before and he only has one thing on his mind: revenge.

A humble horror, filmmaker Jaron Lockridge wears many hats to get his film up and running (writer, director, editor etc) and the result is an immersive, if clunky, watch. It’s always impressive to see an indie horror that shoots its shot and ends up somewhere near the goal. There are a lot of elements to praise in The Reaper Man, such as the contemplative pacing (although some shots do veer into the awkwardly lingering stage), the passionate performances of the two leads, and the use of flashback scenes to intelligently fill in the viewer’s narrative gaps.

It’s a difficult film to know who to root for. Joseph is a kind man pre-death but his zombie version is full of righteous anger and violence. The thieves who terrorised our couple at the beginning become the targets, being stalked by Joseph. It’s only really Jessica who we cling to but it was her decision to summon him back (even after being warned) which causes all of the dark aftermath. The revenge theme is compelling though and scenes where innocents get caught up in the fray make for some of the most exciting.

A few of The Reaper Man's subplots are interesting to follow, such as the detectives who are always one step behind Joseph, or the relationship between Jessica and her sister Candace (Ebony Bivens).

The “demon back from the dead” plot feels familiar and ambitious at times for a film with this budget. Horror aficionados will lament the lack of gore and brutality in Joseph’s conveyor belt of killings, and may even laugh at the numerous times he says “Time to atone” whilst, I assume, wearing Hallowe’en contact lenses. 

There are sound issues aplenty and the film does have a cheap charm that will remove any mainstream appeal but for fans of the genre (we bloody love you) they will certainly get a kick out of Lockridge’s appealing, almost romantic zombie thriller that sways just the right side of schlocky.

About the Film Critic
Chris Olson
Chris Olson
Indie Feature Film, Horror
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