March 1, 2017 VooDoo (Movie Review)
Being innocent, beautiful, and popular does not help one from being cursed and sent to Hell. Writer/Director Tom Constabile’s (The First Time – short 2006) debut full-length feature Horror film VooDoo hit screens on February 17th, followed by release on VOD on the 24th, telling the story of Dani Lamb (Samantha Stewart: House TV series, Days of Our Lives series), a young woman whose choices in men has fatal consequences. Distributed by Hypercube Films, before diving into VooDoo, warning, it is not for the fainthearted.
Southerner Dani breaks up with her latest relationship Frank, after discovering he had been married to a woman named Serafine L’Amour. With a camera in tow to film the trip, Dani visits her cousin, Stacy Cole (Ruth Reynolds: The Guest House 2012, Dessert 2016), in LA. Dani and Stacy have had a close relationship since they were children, and it is the perfect place for Dani to destress. Stacy takes Dani around town, showing her tourist places like Venice Beach, and at night, both being party girls, they go to clubs. Dani tells Stacy Frank’s wife is deep into Voodoo, and does not believe in such nonsense. Stacy shares a house with Spencer Boyd (Dominic Matteucci: The Percipient 2012, Queens Over Kings 2016) and Trey Neil (Daniel Kozul: Jelly 2010, Born Bad 2011), who are also members of Stacy’s band.
Dani’s first two days are fun-filled, from clubs to shops, including Porn Star Ron Jeremy introducing himself to Dani. Dani feels better than ever until Frank calls and warns her Serafine is in LA after vengeance for the affair. This unsettles Dani and she sobs in Stacy’s arms. Stacy comforts Dani and reassures her everything will be alright. The same night, Dani has trouble sleeping due to what she believes are Stacy and her band rehearsing. After she investigates, Dani’s life takes a traumatic and horrific turn. Not only is Serafine in LA, she has been with Dani all along without her knowledge. This time, Serafine makes her presence known and Dani is dragged into the one place even the evil dread – Hell. All Dani’s pleas and prayers may not save her from her tormented fate.
Filmed via found footage, the first half of the movie is made up of lighthearted scenes between Dani and Stacy with the odd hint something else is going on. When it hit the halfway mark, the movie took a dramatic turn from interesting to downright horrific. What follows is a true, realistic, and gut-wrenching version of hell. The problem with this is there is no building up to the graphic nature of said scenes, and some of them are nauseating.
There is no doubt the aforementioned parts are actual Horror, however, a number of said scenes drag way longer than necessary and fill in time. This has the effect of lessening the impact of those effective scenes, and slows the pace and plot down. Other aspects in Hell probably did not need to be shown at all and could have appeared off camera, alluding to what is happening rather than showing it.
There is also the big question of who filmed while Dani was in Hell, and a large percentage of what she had taped prior to this for her father are not things one would show a parent anyway. It is a difficult film in many ways, the real Horror moments are excellent until they are overdone and contrived. Likewise, the acting and camera shots. Further, it is almost like two separate movies, both of which do not come together sufficiently.
Without a doubt, this is a movie for fans of Horrors such as the Saw and The Human Centipede series. There is plenty to like about it, and equally not like about it. Either way, it is a definite message to check the marriage status of all future relationships, and never ever cheat. CrypticRock gives VooDoo 3 out of 5 stars.