Hey everybody! You know the drill by now. Two reviews for the price of one. If you’re worried about spoilers, you should probably skip this because there are lots of spoilers ahead. If you’re still with us, we really hope you enjoy what we’ve put together for you tonight.
Voodoo: A Review
by Luce Allan
Vengeance overrides justice in the found-footage film Voodoo (2017), in which Dani, a young woman from New Orleans, visits her cousin in Los Angeles in an attempt to heal after her mother’s death and the end of her most recent relationship, which unraveled upon Dani’s discovery that her boyfriend is married. The dreamy escapism that she seeks on her vacation, however, is shattered when it becomes increasingly clear that her ex-boyfriend’s wife placed a curse on her, which slowly manifests itself as a realm of inescapable suffering and terror.
Voodoo‘s primary strengths are the excellence of its cast and its general concept. While the opening scene feels a bit awkward in its execution, the chilling and masterful performance by Constance Strickland as Serafine L’Amour that follows is genuine and engrossing. Samantha Stewart carries the film well as Dani, the main character, through her convincing vulnerability. The concepts of undeserved punishment and an in-depth exploration into hell are intriguing and reveal occasional sparks of promise due to the overall intensity of the film’s atmosphere.
The flawed visual execution of the film, however, overwhelms the aforementioned positive qualities. The demons and other creatures that inhabit Voodoo‘s vision of hell have an artificial appearance that takes the viewer out of the story, and (without any disrespect to the many incredible haunted attractions that exist) the unconvincing props and scenery comes across as a tour of a haunted house instead of a terrifying descent into eternal agony. The film’s scares are most successful when the torture is only heard without being seen, or when the terror has a more realistic bent; these moments of fright, however, are relatively infrequent in comparison to the more fantastical elements presented in the plot. If the film had taken advantage of its campy visuals, the film might have felt sharp in its wit and fresh in its presentation of hell; unfortunately, the film is serious in tone, which barely allows for the pleasure of unintentional humor.
Overall, Voodoo succumbs to its inability to work around its aesthetic pitfalls, despite its talented cast and promising plot
Voodoo tells the story of Dani, a young woman from New Orleans who takes a vacation in Los Angeles to get away from her chaotic life and reconnect with her favorite cousin. The chaos in Dani’s life, we learn, is mostly based around her recent break up. Things tend to turn sour when you find out that the person you’re dating is married. Especially when the spouse happens to be a pissed off voodoo priestess who won’t listen to reason
I felt that there was plenty to enjoy in the first couple acts of Voodoo. The characters were being developed nicely, there was some romantic tension building between Dani and some dude, solid performances all around, and the movie really felt like it was building up to something cool. Then the twist comes and well. Have you ever seen one of those movies where it’s really good to start with and then the twist comes and it gets even better? Yeah, this ain’t that.
The twist here is that Dani’s ex’s wife had somehow followed her to LA and cursed her. At first it seems like her bad ass rocker chick cousin is going to be possessed by a voodoo demon curse type of thing but then, out of nowhere, we get the reveal. Dani is to be dragged into the very pits of hell itself! Except for in this movie hell is more like an amateur level “extreme haunt” set in an unfinished basement with dim red lighting. Imagine if a fifteen year old goth kid on the Internet was a movie set. Just trying really hard to be dark and edgy but ending up being comical. I mean, they managed to make Dani getting raped by The Dark Lord himself boring. I’m not saying rape scenes should be more entertaining. I’m just saying that if The Father of Lies is forcibly impregnating a woman it should be fucking disturbing especially when it goes on as long as this did. It was painful to watch for all the wrong reasons.
Look I’m not bitching because there was a boring rape; that was just an example. There are so many moments in this movie that should be gutwrenchingly hard to watch but they fall utterly flat. A literal newborn is killed, there are several portrayals of rape, and Dani had her mother’s entrails shoved in her face but all of these moments made me feel absolutely nothing. Between the lackluster effects and the wooden delivery, most of the terror of hell was turned into an unintentionally funny cringefest. It just seemed like she was cast into a dimension where hell was a really bad haunt.
When it comes down to it, would I recommend this movie? Honestly, it depends. I wouldn’t say that this is a “good” movie but I did have a hell of a time watching it. About the time the hell stuff started happening it went from an interesting found footage flick with some decent acting to Mystery Science Theater with Yeti. We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more, and it was a fucking blast. To me, that’s what it’s all about. So yeah, if you’re looking for something that is unintentionally goofy as fuck I would say check this out. You’ll love it. If that’s not what you’re looking for you’d probably want to give this one a hard pass.
You can check out the trailer here.