Good evening Kreeps,
Tonight I dive head first into a film titled VOODOO written and directed by Tom Costabile and starring Samantha Stewart and Ruth Reynolds. For the synopsis, I will borrow from the pros over at IMDB:
“When Dani, an innocent Southern girl, vacation to Los Angeles to evade her increasingly complicated life, she learns that escaping her past isn’t as easy as she hoped.”
I think the concept of using voodoo as a premise for a horror film is actually pretty unique, so I was really excited about checking out VOODOO. I made it a point to not look to much into the film as I wanted to go in as blind as possible.
I have to say that I’m not typically a fan of the found footage type of filming; however, it didn’t really sway my interest whilst viewing. The camera movement was incredibly shaky and I could see some people potentially feeling nauseated but I didn’t feel to bothered by it. The cinematography was filmed exactly as if someone was making a home movie which actually flowed nicely with the film’s plot.
Our primary character Dani (Samantha Stewart) heads to California to stay with her cousin Stacey (Ruth Reynolds) to escape life troubles back home in New Orleans. The first 45 minutes of the film are primarily plot and character establishments so it rolls on a bit slowly. There is a tad bit of drama as Dani’s “trouble” begins to unfold so it does hold your interest within that. There’s also a few cheap thrills and some crude dialogue to also hold your attention until the film’s true colors shine through. What I mean is that this film isn’t exactly what you are lead to believe it is within the first 45 minutes, so hang tight!
Once the film really starts to take a hard left turn you get to see some interesting and unique set designs. The film is based in Los Angeles so the majority of the film is shot around Hollywood Blvd and the inside of Stacey’s house. However, the set design on the second half of the film was totally rugged with emblems and words of multiple colors spray painted on the walls of the inside of the house. All the scenes that were filmed in what appeared to be hell looked as if it was filmed in a cave of some sort. There had to have been a great deal of time building the set for these scenes and it was almost a shame because with the pace of the film, the camera strolled through these scenes very quickly.
The effects in this film appeared to be mixed between mild use of CGI and primarily practical which I really enjoyed. Having made fake guts myself and recognizing the fun and work that goes into making effects, I really appreciated what I saw in this movie. The CGI effects, or what appeared to be CGI, was incredibly subtle, which was great considering it allowed the practical effects to really shine through. One thing I noticed was a scene where Dani and Stacey were smoking weed and when Dani inhaled, there was a CGI smoke cloud from Dani’s exhale. I appreciated that because it bothers me when watching people smoke cigarettes in movies and the actress or actor doesn’t exhale the smoke. I just can’t buy it! The voice of the antagonist and the “demons” reminded me a lot of the deadites from EVIL DEAD and some of the makeup design on some of the demons even reminded me of Dario Argento’s DEMONS.
One thing I did buy into was the acting of Samantha Stewart and Ruth Reynolds. Dani played an incredibly emotional young woman and I could actually feel tension during a mild argument that her and Stacey get into when Dani continues to battle the trouble that torments her from back home. During the second half of the movie Samantha Stewart is basically an emotional wreck so I actually felt pretty bad for her character as I watched her forcibly trudge along. I was also totally into the Ron Jeremy cameo. I love seeing that dude pop his face into random horror films!
I don’t want to give too much away because VOODOO was actually one hell of a ride. Considering I went into it blind, began poking holes and then completely flipped around and dropped on my head, I give VOODOO two thumbs up. It was fun, easy to get into and was incredibly edge, even featuring a few scenes that made me totally uncomfortable (you’ll know). I would recommend checking out VOODOO and taking this strange and wild ride yourself!