FILM REVIEW: A Voodoo Possession

Danny Trejo is one of the most hard-working actors in America today, regularly turning out a minimum of four films per year. However, in this plethora of movies there are the odd one or two that take his cult status name in vain (this is after all a former child drug addict & armed robber, who was in and out of jail for 11 years) – and this is most definitely one of them. I have to tell you that the studio uses one or two pretty underhanded tactics in marketing this film – for example, don’t believe the blurb or the film poster: ‘Machete star, Danny Trejo, plays a man in search of his brother in a Haitian asylum possessed by Voodoo’ – NO! He doesn’t – he actually plays the hospital administrator in a “flashback capacity”!

The premise actually might have worked if they had treated it right. I won’t reveal the plot mechanism as it is a bit of spoiler, but imagine a demon spirit that feeds and thrives on emotional pain, and reaches from beyond the grave to torment the living and the dead. It feeds off of their regrets in failing to keeping their promises to those closest to them. Burdened since childhood with a gnawing sense of unexplained guilt, Aiden Chase journeys to a Haitian insane asylum in search of his missing brother. Upon arriving, he discovers all the inmates and the hospital administrator (Danny Trejo) are seemingly possessed by a bloodthirsty voodoo spirit – Trejo we only see courtesy of hospital archive videos. Aiden is accompanied by his girlfriend (an investigative reporter), her cameraman, and a patronising but knowledgeable local witch-doctor. Together they abandon reality and descend into a terrifying dream world of blocked-out memories to try to rescue his brother – or else they will be damned for all eternity at the hands of this unstoppable demon spirit.

As I say, the film has an interesting beginning and plot mechanism (the concept of a spirit who feeds on guilt & regret) , but as soon as the story moves to Haiti, it descends into the worst set of stereotypes: all the inmates of the asylum went to the same acting classes for ‘possession’, all the locals are desperately afraid of the ‘ju-ju man’ – the local witch-doctor who was clearly born cynical about the western world beyond Haiti, and the close-minded cameraman who’s only along to provide the comic one-liners. Another real let-down is the almost exploitative use of Tomas Bovkin as ‘Happy Man’, the manifestation of the evil spirit – ridiculous to the point of laughable as he wanders around with a very unconvincing maniacal laugh, jibber-jabbering unintelligibly while trying to stalk his victims, although even this is eclipsed by the poor dialogue and over-the-top character acting by Danny Trejo, which seriously dents his trademark ‘hard-man’ image.

One to avoid…

GS Rating: 1/5

GS Blogger: Silverfox

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: