Rex Reed Under Fire: Critic Slams Movie He Hasn’t Seen

Mark Deming
Movie Talk
Rex Reed
Rex Reed

It's a film critic's job to review movies, not make friends. But Rex Reed doesn't seem to be doing much of either lately.

Reed, the veteran critic and columnist who writes for the New York Observer, is being attacked by movie buffs and fellow film writers for his review of the horror flick "V/H/S 2." Reed ripped the movie to shreds, but along the way he revealed he only bothered to watch 20 minutes of the movie before declaring it "unwatchable from start to finish."

Reed's rant, which runs a scant 137 words, mentions that, "I happily deserted when a man with a retinal implant scooped out his bionic eye with a sharp object, splattering blood all over the camera." Trouble is, other reviewers have pointed out that scene pops up only twenty minutes into the movie, which means there's seventy-six minutes worth of "V/H/S 2" that Reed still hasn't seen.

Reed also didn't do his homework while writing the review. He said that "V/H/S 2" includes "five episodic creep shows," while the movie actually is in seven parts. He calls one of the stories "a sleepover invaded by psycho kidnappers" when the onscreen abduction is committed by aliens. Though Reed describes the filmmakers as "seven unknown directors hell-bent on remaining that way," one of them was Eduardo Sanchez — responsible for one of the biggest horror hits ever "The Blair Witch Project." Another was Jason Eisner, who made the cult favorite "Hobo With A Shotgun" and most of the filmmakers took part in the anthology feature "The ABCs of Death."

The comments section for Reed's "V/H/S 2" review has exploded with negative reactions, ranging from "You're an affront to every professional (and well-meaning amateur) film critic I've ever met" to "Disliking a movie is one thing, but do you have to be such a f---ing prick?"

Watch 'V/H/S 2' Theatrical Trailer:

This is far from the first time Reed has been blasted for his uncharitable and unprofessional attitude. In February, Reed reviewed the comedy "Identity Thief" and described leading lady Melissa McCarthy as a "humongous creep" and "tractor sized," causing plenty of furor in the media. (McCarthy herself refused to comment at the time, but later, without mentioning Reed's name, she told a reporter, "I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate.")

In a 2005 review of the South Korean horror classic "Oldboy," Reed wrote, "What else can you expect from a nation weaned on kimchi, a mixture of raw garlic and cabbage buried underground until it rots, dug up from the grave and then served in earthenware pots sold at the Seoul airport as souvenirs?"

And Reed has been credited with starting and spreading a rumor that Marisa Tomei's 1997 Academy Award for her performance in "My Cousin Vinnie" was actually given to her by mistake, because presenter Jack Palance couldn't properly read the results on camera, and that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were involved in a "massive cover up" to prevent the real winner's identity from being known. In response to Reed's allegations, Roger Ebert wrote, "Not only is the rumor untrue, it is unfair to Marisa Tomei, and Rex Reed owes her an apology."

However, one thing is for certain: Reed is in a position to discuss bad movies, having appeared in two of the most notorious flops of all time: "Myra Breckenridge," the 1971 screen version of Gore Vidal's best-selling novel, featured Reed as Myron, the pre-sex-change alter ego of Raquel Welch's title character. And Reed played the supporting role of Longfellow in "Inchon," an absurd and overstuffed big-budget epic set during the Korean War. The movie was shot in South Korea (with financing supposedly provided by Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church), confirming Reed's familiarity with kimchi.

So there.