I for one enjoyed this little known film, first having seen it at a friend's house way back when VCRs were for people who had a bit of extra money to burn and were the darlings of the neighborhood. We were really blown away by The Redeemer since there just weren't that many great horror films showing at theatres or on home video at the time. Just notice how those of us who appreciate The Redeemer were young at that time and those who don't like it are young NOW and weaned on flashier "horror" fare that are really Tommy Hilfiger ads in disguise.
Sure the lack of budget shows sometimes, but The Redeemer (later retitled Class Reunion Massacre for those who need a lot of help in knowing what a film is about in the title, what a joke) has many little things in it that really shine. For me, the one scene where the victims are in the school's gym for the "reunion" and are sitting at the table, notice how it's a re-creation of The Last Supper? There are several tense scenes of chases that really offer some sense of dread and the killings are rather creative and effective for a film from 1978 (that blade going into the guy's head and the marionette are a wow). There's some brilliance at work here in this little gem of a film. Note also that this film was shot in 1976, so it pre-dated films like Halloween and others that were considered forerunners of the genre.
There is much that leaves us befuddled: What's with the two thumbs, the kid possibly changing into the man and then back, why the lake.....but I enjoyed the film for trying and succeeding if you can just put aside the questions of logic and lack of budget. I actually like when a film uses unknown actors, it helps you get into the characters and the story easier that way (and not being distracted by a very recognizable actor), and the fact that the actors aren't all young and pretty people posing as teens was a major plus. It's why I enjoy horror films like The Bone Yard and more recent efforts like Session 9 where the film's creators aren't scared to give us mature characters. Also noteworthy is that it is full of atmosphere, not needing to distract audiences with nudity nor heavy gore to distract them from lack of substance. The Redeemer holds its own quite well.
Some may be put off by the film's "moral" theme, claiming it's not fair that these killings are justified because each person killed represents a sin. I think of it like the story presented in the frightening 1991 film The Rapture, what IF the universe really is controlled by a vengeful god that punishes us at every little turn? I just see it in The Redeemer that religion really can be a bit hypocritical in how it seems to justify killing in the name of God. That said, then I must be missing something else though because one of the titles for this film is The Redeemer: Son Of Satan! Does that mean that it's really Satan having some fun killing in the guise of Christianity? Hmmmm. Or just that like the awful retitling Class Reunion Massacre, by putting the words "son of Satan" in the title it grabs the attention of more gullible minds? (Just like ruining a good drama called Celia by retitling it Celia: Child Of Terror) Geez, I'm getting a headache.
This is a film to just enjoy it as it is, and giving it credit for really trying. There are way too many big budget Hollywood films that can easily be forgotten, but little films like The Redeemer manage to stay in people's minds and over the years always manage to be brought up in conversation about memorable obscure films. This one is a gem I'm glad people love and has been kept alive all these years.
Update October 2010: Now available on DVD from Code Red as The Redemeemer: Son Of Satan. Hooray!
The Redeemer: Son of Satan!
The Redeemer: Son of Satan!
Six former classmates receive invitations one day to a high school reunion. When they arrive at their alma mater, however, they find that not only are they the only ones to have receved letters, the invitations were actually sent by a deranged preacher intending to murder them all as punishment for their wicked ways. Will any of them escape from the remote schoolhouse alive, or will they all meet their final judgement?
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 24, 2021 at 08:13 AM