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REAPTOWN (2020)

Directed & written by Dutch Marich
Starring Brooke Bradshaw, Dani Colleen, Chrissy Carpenter, Jared Chandus Cain, Hannah Landberg, David Morales, Daphne O’Neal, Brittany Morgan Williams

Out on a work release program from prison, Carrie (Brooke Bradshaw) finds herself walking the grounds of an abandoned trainyard during the night shift to prove to her superiors that she is fit and responsible enough to reintegrate into society. Carrie’s sister, who was released into the same program two weeks prior, has disappeared. As Carrie wanders the dark trainyard, filled with abandoned locomotives and miscellaneous equipment, she uncovers the town of Reaptown’s dark secret and hopes to survive the night.

REAPTOWN is a small budget movie that knows how to stretch its dollar. Incorporating some well-integrated drone shots, nerve shredding patience, and an absolutely terrifying atmosphere, writer/director Dutch Marich is able to achieve so much horror with very little. If you boil this film down to basics, and it already is boiled down pretty much, it simply follows a woman around in a dark building using a small flashlight as the sole illumination. Every swish of the camera sends a jolt down the spine, due to the endless darkness surrounding the entire frame. Adding to the terror is the accompaniment of equally frightening sounds of a baby crying, miscellaneous machinery clanking, metal plates falling, and a minimalist score. All of it put together makes for a mood that is as tense as it comes when paired with the strong performance by the lead Brooke Bradshaw. Bradshaw has more guts than most, though the terror is plainly shown on her face, as she wanders the buildings, getting lost, and flailing for some kind of escape.

Marich succeeds in achieving a tone that most horror filmmakers dream of matching utilizing patience, space, the shifting light, and slight sounds. Some might grow weary of the repetition of scenes that follow Carrie on her rounds through the trainyard, but those who simply drink this film in for the potent dose of horror that it is will appreciate Marich’s firm grip on how to instill fear. That said, I do think that there were some missed opportunities as some solid scares as Carrie flashes her light around in the final moments. The suspense is ratcheted up to the breaking point and I longed for a moment to release that tension. Still, it shows Marich’s fiendish side as he provides no release until the last moment.

Yes, this one has an ambiguous ending. I would have liked a few more answers as to how things ended up the way they did. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say REAPTOWN has a happy ending, I think some of the upbeat parts could have been omitted to maintain the dire tone set in the movie prior. Still, REAPTOWN is simplistic horror at its best. It is a focused and potent dose of fear that is all-encompassing and a true achievement in low budget horror.

Check out the trailer here!!