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Legend of the Red Reaper

USA/Canada/Germany 2013
produced by
Tara Cardinal, Luca Boni (Italian unit), Marco Ristori (Italian unit), Uwe Boll (executive), Matt Dean (executive), Sean Wyn (executive), Ho Sung Pak (co), Nimrod Zalmanowitz (co), Tim Hays (associate), Michael J. Schaefer (associate), Joe Hollow (associate), Chance Minter (associate), Barry J. Ratcliffe (associate), Rob Ray (associate) for Reel Heroine
directed by Tara Cardinal
starring Tara Cardinal, David Mackey, Eliza Swenson, Christian Boeving, Tom Nowicki, Ray Eddy, Cal Simmons, Shayne Leighton, Barry Ratcliffe, Christina Daoust, Lloyd Kaufman, George Pérez, Tim Hays, James Michael Gibson, Joe Hollow, Amber Crawford, Mike Mitchell, Jennifer Christa Palmer, Stephen Weese, Haley Stoeckel, Alvin Aki, Greer Scott, Jerry Alan, Kim Pritekel, Jeanne Steding, Mike Sweeten, Tom Chittendan, Nicholas Hays, Mason Scott Shapins, Mel Turner, Angelic Granger, Rachael Thompson, Patricia M. Dunn, Carolina Albanes, Samantha Berry, Ruth Hays, Michael J. Schaefer, Mary Carr, Kate Elizabeth Davis, Tania Ivelisse, C.J. Ore, Rachel Ore, Al Snow
written by Tara Cardinal, music by Joshua Parish Gomez, Sean Wyn, visual effects by Rusty Gartrell, Sean Wyn, fight choreography by Al Snow, Cal Simmons, Justice Maynard, Tara Cardinal, Katherine Kentes, Charles Cardwell

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Aella (Tara Cardinal) is a Reaper, which is a sort of semi-demon stronger than any human and more cunning than most demons. Though generally benign, Reapers are feared by humans as they sometimes lose control over their inborn rage, and then ...

Aella had an especially traumatic childhood, since as a child she was given away by her mother the Teller Witch (Eliza Swenson) to demon overlord Ganesh (Ray Eddy) for a flask of his blood which will grant the Teller Witch everlasting youth - even though Ganesh has slaughtered Aella's village ...

Aella was later rescued by her own people, the Reapers, but since she's constantly plagued by memories of her youth. Her master Kreios (Cal Simmons) keeps her rage under control mostly though, and then there's of Eris (David Mackey), a handsome young man she's madly in love with (and vice versa) ... but Eris is a human, and not only that, he is the crownprince only days away from coronation, and he's promised to another woman, Indira (Christina Daoust). He of course promises Aella to marry her ... but she has the feeling that that won't happen, and everyone from her father (Tom Nowicki) to Kreios tells her to forget about him - which causes her to lose control over her rage and seriously injure Kreios during a training session. Shortly thereafter she's led into an ambush by the men of S'Grun (James Michael Gibson), a human ally of Ganesh, and they capture her, drink her blood (which is supposed to make humans strong) and then leave her to die.

But Aella is saved by her mother she has learned to hate, the Teller Witch, who gives her own life to save her daughter, and Aella finally learns a few things about her past and her destiny: Most of the horrible things she seems to remember are actually in her future she only knows from a prophecy, and her mother has given her away not for eternal youth but to save her whole people. Thing is, things are starting to happen not some time in the future, but right now, at Eris' coronation - and when Aella returns, most of her people are already slaughtered by Ganesh's hordes, Eris has gone missing in action, and his court has mostly been imprisoned by Ganesh.

The Reaper-rage of Aella grows to new unknown heights, and now nothing will stop her until she has faced Ganesh ... but will she be able to control her rage well enough to actually defeat him or perish in the battle? And where in the world has Eris gone ...

 

The Legend of the Red Reaper took the better part of six years to finish - which is an incredibly long time, not only for a low budget movie. But not only bearing this in mind, the film looks very homogenous, it's a very well-told and well-paced movie that relies heavily on atmosphere rather than empty spectacle, physical action rather than computer trickery, dark central characters rather than genre clichées, and that dares to not bore its audience to death with a pointless origin story but trusts the viewer's intelligence to fill in a few blanks to tell the actual story, which is tight, suspenseful and also violent enough to come across without some extra trimming. Add to this very well-shot action scenes and Tara Cardinal at her best heading a dedicated cast, and you've got yourself a winner.

Highly recommended!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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written by
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starring
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