STUDIO: Musicrama, Inc.
MSRP: $18.98
RUNNING TIME: 98 Minutes
Deleted scenes
“Making-of” documentary
Director commentary
Interview with voodoo priest

The Pitch

"It’s The Serpent & The Rainbow version of The Exorcist set in England with a worthless Hand that Rocks the Cradle subplot."

The Humans

Doug Cockle, Sara Stewart, Tricia Mortimer, Vonda Barnes

"Honey, have you ever been with a psycho black woman before?"
"Uh, no."
"Wanna bet?"

The Nutshell

A workaholic banker relocates his family to London for his new job. When his wife discovers two bodies in a small voodoo-themed tomb in their new house’s basement, she’s possessed by the spirit of a voodoo priestess. She then becomes a part-time, French-speaking, sexual bitch who’s looking to have her dead lover join her in her husband’s body. Along with a hot new au pair who has her heart set on replacing the wife in the banker’s life, things get decidedly very unfriendly around the house. But the banker is too busy to notice until it’s too late. He then has to heed the advice of the London voodoo community in order to save his wife and his family.

I’m immediately adopting so she can watch my kids…

The Package

Considering this is an independent release, the quality of the package isn’t bad. The production value of the movie itself, especially the innovative cinematography and editing, is good, even if the script isn’t that great. The transfer looks pretty good also in what looked to be 1.66 or 1.85 to 1 (no info was given). There’s also a director’s commentary by writer/director Robert Pratten and 20-minute interview with a white, British voodoo priest (who knew there was such a thing?).

The Lowdown

According to the promos on the back of the DVD cover, this flick won the following awards at the following film fests: Best Director and Best Acting, Fearless Tales Genre Fest, San Francisco (2004); Jury Award for Best Feature, Boston International Film Festival (2004). I’ll take their word for it I guess. For while the concept is definitely original, the cinematography and editing good, that’s about all this movie can claim. The characters are – dare I say it – boring at best. I absolutely couldn’t bring myself to care for any of them. When the wife, Sara (Sarah Stewart), was possessed, I actually think she became a more interesting person.

Nothing quite like being serviced by the Lord Marshal…

Cockle’s character, Lincoln, is too dense and/or busy to realize what’s going on for ¾ of the flick. He manages to shrug off most of the unusual things Sara does while possessed, until she goes Mike Tyson on his nose. Newcomer Vonda Barnes slinks her way through the picture as the lusty au pair, Kelly, who wants Lincoln for herself. That plot pretty much goes nowhere and only seems to serve as filler when Lincoln is out of the house. Kelly goes so far as to give Sara a dose of hazelnut oil – to which she is severely allergic – in a serving of tea, and hiding her antidote ala De Mornay in Cradle. She then plays the dutiful nanny, taking care of both Sara and the baby when Sara takes a turn for the worse. Add in a quickie make out session with Lincoln, and it’s Cradle with a voodoo twist. She does get a nice bit of comeuppance, but overall, her entire story arc was meant to kill time and little else. The fact that she got through this film without getting naked is a complete waste of potential.

"…and how, brother!"

The film tries to show case the English voodoo community. But I’ve seen better renditions in Tales From the Crypt. Since voodoo comes from West African religion, and there’s a West African community in England, I never would have thought of putting the two together. This movie did, and it is original, but in the end, I would’ve needed to have been under a spell to enjoy it.

4.6 out of 10