In the Videozone featurette following the film, one of the actors remarks that it was interesting working on the film because in a horror film the black character always dies, but in this film, all the characters were black. He also said that it was good to have the job because there isn't much demand for young black actors in film. The full meaning of these quotes still escape me; I just know that black characters do usually die in horror films, and the only other all-black horror films I can think of are the blaxploitation-era "Blacula" and its sequel "Scream, Blacula, Scream".
It is somewhat ironic that Full Moon Pictures, a low budget horror label, is doing something to rectify such a situation with their Big City Pictures (at this time called Alchemy) "urban horror" spin-off label, since most of the intended audience would not watch or enjoy their films because of the low budget. This is better than the average horror film, but is a "text-book" Full Moon film, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you think of Full Moon's releases.
The plot is interesting, and was at least researched. Kwame and his friends are in an independent band on the verge of making it big. Big Pear, a local gangster (gangsta?), offers a lucrative deal to be their manager, and, when Kwame refuses, sends his brothers to hospitalize Kwame's grandmother. For revenge, Kwame looks up some of his grandmother's spells (she was a sorceress, can't remember if it was specifically described as voodoo sorcery or not), and calls upon the Shadow Man to put his "killing magic" into Kwame's grandmother's wooden rag doll to kill Big Pear and his brothers. Unfortunately, the killing magic comes at a price, and for every person the rag doll kills for Kwame, it must also take another life, from someone that Kwame cares about.
The acting isn't Oscar-calibre, but far from horrible (except for the grandmother, who acts well but, as a result of no make-up budget, looks like she's in her late 30's and not at all injured from Big Pear's brothers' "attack"), and the special effects aren't all that special. In this case, the Ragdoll isn't the slightest bit frightening or menacing (and actually sounds like a Furby or other child's toy), but the actors do an excellent job of selling it. The music by the band was enjoyable, and introduces a new Full Moon market - the urban soundtrack. If you liked Full Moon's other killer puppet/doll flicks, you'll enjoy this, and if not, haven't you learned to stay away from Full Moon titles by now?
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