Having learned the trade from Roger Corman, Dave Payne lends that master's touch to this 21st-century update on that most infamous and beloved of genres, the '70s youth-lost-in-the-boondocks horror film. It's spring break and a group of college kids are on a road trip to a party in the desert-"the biggest rave of the year!"-when, of course, things start going wrong. A road closure and an empty gas tank leave them stranded at a deserted hotel, just as night starts to fall. Beyond their supply of stolen ecstasy tablets, nothing else seems to be around... nothing human, that is. A shed filled with bones and tools, a smell that won't go away, the trucker in the dumpster who's missing half his body, and the woman in the hotel room whose mouth seems torn off: all these things and more, especially the ones that linger in the darkness, will make sure our co-eds have a night to remember, if they can survive it all. Though it's taking off on a genre familiar to anyone who's seen a '70s or '80s teens-in-peril film, Reeker refuses to take a simple, mocking tone. Payne loves the genre, and invests his film with an intelligence and craft that's rare in the easy-laughs and quick-bucks realm of most contemporary horror films. It may be a story that's been told before, but the fun is in how it's told, and in watching a classic and classically trashy tale being reinvigorated for modern times.
Dave Payne was born near Chicago and studied at the Iowa Writer's Workshop before moving to Los Angeles. He began his film career interning for legendary producer Roger Corman. Payne went on to helm several features for Corman. Payne has since directed the feature Addams Family Reunion and written the screenplay for the teen horror-comedy Boltneck starring Ryan Reynolds. He also wrote and directed the feature film Just Can't Get Enough. Craving the sense of fun missing from the current crop of horror films, Payne set out to mash up his love of movie monsters, slasher flicks and smart mind-bending storytelling by creating Reeker-the first film from The Institution, a financing and production company Payne founded with producer Tina Illman.