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Case Number 26822: Small Claims Court

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Voodoo Possession

RLJ Entertainment // 2013 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis (Retired) // January 10th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Daryl Loomis wants to return to his past and make amends for the time his dad "fixed" his Transformer.

The Charge

The past can only hurt you if you let it.

The Case

Voodoo is a relatively rare horror topic and not an altogether bad one, but they're never as scary or interesting as they seem like they should be. The reason for this is simple. Whenever people make a movie that uses voodoo as a device, they decide that it's super important to explain that the religion itself isn't evil, that it's the people who are the evil ones. That's fine; I totally recognize that it's a perfectly acceptable religion that perfectly non-evil people practice in many parts of the world. But I don't care. If I wanted to take a course on its history, I'd go to community college. I want a horror movie and nothing ruins that faster than a whole bunch of exposition. This is no better demonstrated than in Voodoo Possession, a confusing bore of a horror movie that can't get away from explaining itself to tell a story.

His life is in a shambles when Aiden Chase (Ryan Caltagirone, The Big Year) learns that his brother, Cody (David Thomas Jenkins, Kissing Strangers), has disappeared from the Haitian mental hospital he runs. His TV producer ex-girlfriend, Bree (Kerry Knuppe, Skills Like This), gets him on a crew to head to Haiti under the ruse of a documentary so they can look for him. When they arrive, they discover that Cody has been employing voodoo to treat his patients and, quickly, they are forced to journey into their souls for answers before it's too late.

I wonder if directors are concerned about a curse if they portray voodoo in a negative light. Wes Craven, in The Serpent and the Rainbow, goes out of his way to explain the tenets of the voodoo faith before his movie devolved into something wholly uninteresting, and writer/director Walter Boholst (Thrust) goes even farther. He takes time out every ten minutes or so to explain something else about voodoo, ensuring that any tension that might have been built is lost in the exposition.

Don't worry, though, because it was never there in the first place. The story is layered in memories, which makes it seem like it's more interesting than it really is. It's needlessly confusing as a result and more explanation of voodoo principles doesn't help, but that's what you're in store for with Voodoo Possession. The story, which trades on themes better dealt with in the far superior Silent House, for any merits it might have had, is undermined completely by the absolutely terrible dialog and overdone stylistic touches, all of which makes the movie painful to watch and boring on top.

Danny Trejo's (Machete) name is emblazoned across the cover, but his fans should know that he appears in about ten minutes of the movie and only in videos. They paid his absurd rate and he came in for a day for the sole purpose, almost literally, of sitting at a table and reading a book about voodoo. Yes, Danny Trejo is our guide through the religion, which should give you a very good sense of this movie's integrity. All of the performances are poor, though, and with the overly confusing, yet completely stupid, storyline makes this a complete waste of time.

Voodoo Possession comes do DVD from RLJ in an acceptable release. The 2.35:1 anamorphic image is solid but unspectacular, with fairly good detail in the darker scenes and solid black levels. Flesh tones look natural and it's fairly sharp overall. The sound isn't quite as strong, with a surround mix that is too heavy in the rear channels, muddling the dialog in the front end. It doesn't sound terrible, but one might have to go back a little to catch something they might have missed. The only extra is a run of the mill behind the scenes featurette, with the only notable bit being the director's comparison of his film to Inception. I'm not huge on that movie, but to pretend that your movie is needlessly confusing on purpose is just silly.

Dumb is dumb and I don't really care if there is more respect for voodoo per minute than any movie in history. I'm not looking for lessons on world religions from my horror movies. What I am looking for is an interesting plot, decent characters, and if all else fails, some shocks and a little bloodshed to pass the time. Voodoo Possession carries none of that, making it an utter waste of everyone's time.

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 65

Perp Profile

Studio: RLJ Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Horror
• Mystery
• Suspense
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette


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