Spoilers follow ...
- A Voodoo Possession review by NP
One thing worse than being a patient in an understaffed, dilapidated mental hospital in Haiti is to be visited by a group of quick-talking, squabbling young hacks determined to uncover the institution’s secrets whilst dishonouring local beliefs, moaning about the lack of a Starbucks, and shoving their cameras into patients’ faces.
Hunky main man Aiden (Ryan Caltagirone) has also come here to search for his brother, and is alarmed to find the place possessed by some demonic force. Hence the film’s title. Splendid-faced Danny Trejo, who is perhaps best known for his appearances in three ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ films (as well as a plethora of others) appears briefly as Billy Cross. Other characters are sadly so flat that they barely register.
We have to trust that the asylum is in Haiti, as everything occurs indoors and the simple sets betray the low budget on offer. “I’m having trouble processing all this crazy shit,” fey Duane Dubois (Abe Spigner) remonstrates at one stage, which gives you some idea of the level of erudition on display here – but he has a point. The story, other than an asylum possessed, is a jumble and so flat are the scares (although the climactic effects occasionally ascend to the impressive) that the effort required to work out what exactly is going on doesn’t seem worth it. Even the music score (usually a dependable way of enhancing mood) is underwhelming, all but disappearing at moments of tension.
Ultimately, this emerges as yet another badly made unengaging horror attempt with screaming passing off as emoting (with Caltagirone the main culprit): daytime soap opera drama interspersed with wailings of demonic forces. The ‘touching’ ending featuring (‘SPOILER’) the two reunited brothers sobbing and telling each other how much they love each other is particularly nauseating. Why would a supposed powerful spirit spend so much time concerning itself with this bunch of shallow show-offs is anyone’s guess.
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