Wednesday, March 14, 2007

VOODOO MOON

VOODOO MOON (2005) is one of several recent horror movie releases from Anchor Bay and director Kevin VanHook (THE FALLEN ONES). I really hope the others are better.

Filled with familiar genre personalities such as Eric Mabius (THE CROW: SALVATION, RESIDENT EVIL), Charisma Carpenter (TV’s BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL), Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR, THE FRIGHTENERS), Dee Wallace (THE HOWLING, THE FRIGHTENERS) and John Amos (BEASTMASTER), the inexplicably titled VOODOO MOON has a decidedly comic book plot (fitting, as director Van Hook is a former comic book writer and artist), some slick special effects, and an unfortunately sluggish pace.

Twenty years before the film’s story begins, two siblings (Mabius and Carpenter) survived a demonic massacre in their Southern hometown. Now, the brother, Cole – who has apparently become something of an occult super-hero in the intervening years – has returned to recruit his sister (who is prone to prophetic, plot-vital visions) for a final confrontation with the demon responsible for the deaths of their family and neighbors. Joining them are several other folks, all people that Cole has helped fight evil over the years, including an outlaw biker (Amos), a traumatized cop (Combs) and a neurotic healer (Wallace).

The creakily familiar storyline might have worked in more capable hands, but damn, is VOODOO MOON talky! I fell asleep repeatedly during the running time, and when I tried watching the second half again for this review, I dozed off again. I guess this played on the Sci-Fi Channel, and maybe with lots of long commercial breaks the slow pacing wouldn’t seem quite so noticeable, but still…

It doesn’t help that the villain, when we finally meet him, isn’t particularly intimidating, nor that "voodoo" has almost nothing whatsoever to do with the plot of a film called VOODOO MOON.

The DVD from Anchor Bay is up to its usual high technical standards, with a virtually perfect 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and crisp Dolby 5.1 sound. There are two "making of" documentaries that are somewhat more involving than the feature, deleted scenes, a still gallery, and trailers for this and other Anchor Bay horror titles.

Ultimately, a good cast and slick computer effects can’t make up for a weak script and uninspired direction. Here’s hoping that the other VanHook titles on my desk (SLAYER and DEATH ROW) are better.

BUY: Voodoo Moon