‘The Reeds’ – A Stagnant Supernatural Thriller That Treads Water

The Reeds is the kind of movie that you watch because you want to see what happens next. It’s not that you’re interested, it’s just that since you’ve watched this much you may as well go a bit further.

Set amid the misty, isolated waterways of England’s Norfolk Broads, ‘The Reeds’ aims for atmospheric horror but ultimately sinks under the weight of its dull protagonists and predictable plot. When a group of young Londoners take a fateful boating trip, they find themselves at the mercy of sinister supernatural forces lurking in the reeds. But what should be a tense clashes of wills ends up a dull crawl towards an inevitable conclusion.

Now, seeing as this is a horror movie, we very well can’t have them make it safely through so they can go home and live happily ever after. No, we need frights. So, let’s throw in an enigmatic gang of youths that they encounter at different points in the film. But wait, there’s also a twist of an ending that you see coming a mile away, or not.

After encountering murderous rivals and finding grisly human remains, the group becomes stranded in the middle of the marshy wetlands, stalked by an unseen evil presence. Trapped on their rented boat with no escape, tensions escalate and bodies start piling up. But the interchangeable characters elicit little sympathy, making it hard to care who lives or dies.

While the brooding location brims with potential, director Nick Cohen fails to generate more than a few rote jump scares. Bereft of nuance or surprise, the story chugs along so mechanically that we lose interest in the mystery altogether. Instead of atmosphere and human drama amplifying the horror, both elements are equally lifeless.

What could have been a chilling clash of the supernatural and human will in an evocative setting becomes a dull procession of horror clichés. With its strong cast and promising ingredients, ‘The Reeds’ should leave audiences shaken. Instead, like its ill-fated protagonists, it merely floats along aimlessly until reaching its inevitable doom.

There’s really not a whole lot that can be said about this film and therein lies the trouble with it. The cast is credible, but they really don’t generate any air of excitement among them. No character stands out and no scene stands out. As for any scary scenes they are telegraphed long before they occur.

It’s quite interesting that a film like this should be set on water. Simply put, it’s stagnant.