Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Last movie I saw in a theater—that question pops up a lot on various social media sites as we all reflect on things we used to do so easily. My answer goes off the mainstream since my last venture into a theater happened March fourteenth at the Ely Film Festival when I got to see a horror movie shot locally by a hometown boy. Well, actually Dutch Marich grew up and moved to L.A., but he keeps returning to Ely to make projects that bear touches similar to one of his favorite directors, Wes Craven of Scream fame. Craven’s name shows up in Dutch’s new movie, Reaptown, which played to a one-hundred fifty-person audience at the festival. Locals and a Nevada enthusiast like me enjoyed seeing such familiar sights as the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, which oozes opportunities for the director to display his Dutch touch of atmospheric spookiness.Writer as well as director, Marich takes advantage of the horror genre’s ability to function well with simple story elements and a low budget. Using a variation of the old dark house motif, Marich puts his main character inside the sprawling railway maintenance building, where ghost trains and dilapidated equipment lurk around every bend. Without elaborate special effects, Marich builds suspense as he unveils a supernatural creature of his own invention and lets it terrorize a woman played likeably by Brooke Bradshaw. Granted, Marich brings on his ending on too suddenly in an effort to leave an opening for a sequel, but otherwise Reaptown provides the jumpy moments horror fans enjoy. It also features impressive drone cinematography, giving viewers an effective overview of the railroad setting along with an unsettling knack for following the story’s main character through dark corners and tight turns. Though picked up by a distributor shortly after its Ely screening, Reaptown still awaits a release date. In the meantime, you can get a sense of the Dutch touch with an earlier Marich project, Infernum, which also uses Ely’s railroad museum. The movie develops a sense of dread through its train tunnel setting that reveals action in glimpses. Effective music from Bryan Stage enhances the mood so that Marich captures the horror tradition of letting the mind draw its own scary pictures. Moving slowly with a lot of talk, Infernum works best as low key, psychological horror.And, as with Reaptown, Infernum showcases a fabulous state location, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum.