VooDoo

After a rough couple of years back home in New Orleans, Dani (Samantha Stewart) is taking a much-needed vacation in Los Angeles with her favorite cousin, Stacy (Ruth Reynolds). Stacy ran off to start a rock band, and now shares a house -- a creepy house, according to Dani -- with her fellow bandmates as they struggle to make it big. There's Spencer and Trey (Dominic Matteucci and Daniel Kozul), but the bandmates are mostly interchangeable.

Dani's looking forward to relaxing and playing tourist for a while, but she's also glad to be away from her ex, Frank. They had a pretty nasty breakup when she found out he was married. Ouch. The kicker is that he's married to Serafine (Constance Strickland) a woman who knows something about the voodoo of the title, and she's pretty furious at Dani. This seems like some seriously misplaced anger to me, but who knows what story Frank told. Anyway, you don't want to be on her bad side, trust me.

Meanwhile, Dani and Stacy are seeing the town -- and meeting Ron Jeremy (Ron Jeremy) -- blissfully unaware that anything is amiss. Well, I think they realize something might be amiss with Ron Jeremy, but that's different. The point is that Serafine starts out slow and subtle with her voodoo, and only Dani's camera catches anything wrong at first. Yes, it's a found footage film, though considering the ending I'm not sure how anyone could have found this particular footage.

Then about halfway through the movie, I guess Serafine gets impatient, because everything explodes. Dani wakes up to find the house has been redecorated with pentagrams, candles, upside-down crosses, and graffiti inviting her to descend the stairs to hell. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be the Hell or not. If Hell is like the really campy haunted house the drama club put on one year where everyone was wailing much too loudly and playing with fake entrails, then this is Hell.

My first thought was that someone had a large pile of stuff scavenged from other sets and wanted to use all of it in one movie, and apparently that's kind of what happened. The credits thank the costume and prop departments of a couple of large studios, which probably explains why there are orcs, demons, priests, vampires (?), and gladiators (!) all in one unconvincing cavern. I think the girl from The Ring was there, too. Oh, and the main demon looked like an extra from 300 with a devil mask and monster hands. I'm still trying to process everything.

I liked the first half. It seemed ready for a good slow build of fear and I was prepared to forgive the found footage approach and a complete lack of accuracy in regards to any actual voodoo practices because that isn't why you watch non-documentary movies. Then I found myself watching Dani scream and flail for 45 minutes. The film was just trying so hard to scare me with everything that I quickly became numb to anything that might actually have been frightening. I can't go any higher than two and a half out of five. When you find yourself wondering how hoarse the lead was after filming instead of wondering how the character can possibly survive, something has gone seriously wrong with your horror movie.

Image: 
An arcane symbol. I'm sure it means something, but it's never explained.

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