Stars: Samantha Stewart, Ruth Reynolds, Dominic Matteucci, Ron Jeremy, Alec Justin Henderson, Lavelle Roby, Richard Kray, Constance Strickland,Nicole DeMaria, Courteney Winter | Written and Directed by Tom Costabile
When spunky Southern belle Dani (Samantha Stewart) decides her life back home is getting a little too complicated, she decides to have a bit of time away and goes on a road trip to Los Angeles to visit her wild cousin Stacy (Ruth Reynolds). Armed with a camera, she documents her exploits. Things start off nicely with Dani and her cousin hitting the streets of LA, seeing the sights and ingesting the atmosphere. They even get to party a little with the legendary hedgehog himself… No not the little blue guy – the one and only Ron Jeremy. After having a wild first night in LA, the pair decide to go chill at the beach and things begin to take a weird turn when a beach side shaman selling protective trinkets begins flipping out on Dani. OK, so just an innocent, but crazy LA native citizen, we all know how weird and wonderful that place can be! Things bit a tad creepy when strange goings on happen in the night. That’s nothing compared to what is about to happen to Dani when she is literally thrown in to her own private Hell.
OK, so with the title VooDoo, I think you can pretty much tell what is going on in this one. I’ve read a few reviews prior to this that have essentially given a play-by-play analysis of the film. Being the kind hearted soul that I am, I’ve done you the service of being as vague as I possibly can be. The film essentially starts off as your typical found footage film that sets the scene, let’s us get acquainted with the characters as we follow them around and then the final third goes in to full force insanity. Without giving too much away, Dani is put through a whole HELL of a lot of. It’s actually quite refreshing to see something familiar, yet something that goes in a direction you really wouldn’t expect. The final third is actually quite graphic and sinister in spots and Samantha Stewart was really pushed to her limits as an actress. I was genuinely shocked at how extreme the film became and it was almost reminiscent of those wonderfully absurd and offensive exploitation and German gore films from years gone by. I’m instantly reminded of Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 at some points.
One thing that both works for and against VooDoo is just how cheap and crude it can be. The film is unfortunately plagued by really cheap and badly utilised CGI and post production affects that take you out of the film. On the flip-side, the final third of the film’s set looks so quickly and economically put together that it adds real charm especially when there is such over the top and graphic things going on. I’m a fan of found footage films and this was one of those times where I felt like I got something new and refreshing from the genre. For the most part, it’s really well acted and shot in an authentic manner. It’s also great to see an actual story played out in an intelligent and mature manner so you feel for the characters before you see the carnage. Major props have to go to Samantha Stewart in this one.
Overall, VooDoo was a real surprise and highly recommended to both fans and detractors of the found footage genre. If you love absurd, offensive and shocking cinema then you are in for a treat with this one. It’s far from a perfect film, but as with most overly saturated genres, this one does stand out. Even if there is a scene of Ron Jeremy doing slapstick dance moves…
VooDoo is released across the US from February 24th.