Maybe the problem is that I just don’t get British. I’d like to think I’m just as hip as the rest of you out there, but I’m just not so sure. I mean, I love Monty Python to death, but just could never get Benny Hill. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan from a long time ago, but some of the British science fiction movies and mini-series I’ve seen of late mostly just leave me scratching my head. It’s like everyone in the world is in on this great funny joke and I’m the only one who doesn’t get it. I hate feeling that way, but that’s exactly what The Reeds left me feeling before it was all over.
A group of 6 friends are on holiday. They’re driving some time away from home to enjoy a weekend on a rented boat together. When they get to the Marina, they find out that the boat they reserved is damaged, and there just aren’t any others available to let. Well … that’s not exactly true. If the group is willing to drive to another location and pick up a boat left there, they can use it for the weekend. They quickly agree and get directions to the boat. They find the Corsair Star sitting in a marsh with a group of zombie-like stoic kids aboard. They chase them away and commence to start their cruise weekend. They decide to leave the open water and attempt to navigate a narrow passage through a vast plain of reeds. That’s when the strange things start to happen. They spot the odd kids again and hotshot aggressive Chris (Mellor) jumps ship to give them a what for. They scatter, leaving a charred dog corpse behind them. Then they get snagged on a metal object that pierces the hull, not to mention Chris. It all goes downhill from there. The group begin to have odd visions, and more and more strange things keep occurring about them.
This is one of those kinds of movies where you are never really supposed to understand exactly what happened to these guys. Skeletal remains from the sunken cages reveal that something really bad went down here and that our vacationers have stumbled upon the scene of a massacre of some kind. Then we get some kind of time loop effect, and by then I’m lost and really could not care any less than I already do. Skip this one. There are far too many winners in this bunch to get bogged down, pun intended, with this garbage.
The Reeds is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The movie looks like it has been completely sucked of any kind of life or color. The flesh tones are considerably pale. The sky looks overcast even when it is obviously sunny. I think the filmmakers intended to present us with some kind of a dream-state reality. The print is in good enough condition. It just looks so dull. A shame, really, when you consider a pretty atmospheric location.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is as dull as the image. You can hear the dialog fine, but there is no atmosphere or ambient life to this presentation. Maybe it’s a British thing.
The characters in this film aren’t the only ones about to get hopelessly lost. This is one of those films made with some government money in the UK. I expect there is an expectation to be artsy. If you want art, buy a painting. Before setting sail on this stinker sinker, insist on a “safety tour”.