8 April 2004 | Alan-42
I'm in a Voodoo state of mind!
I often wonder when I read other sour reviews of excellent films posted on this site, what is going on through the confined and jaded thinking of some folk! I was lucky enough to catch the premiere of London Voodoo at the Fearless Tales Genre Fest in San Francisco this winter 2004 and was literally glued to the screen! For the first time since 1987's The Believers, and 1988's Serpent and the Rainbow, comes a stylish, authentic and urban tale of voodoo, possession, exorcism and redemption. London Voodoo is a film, much like Rosemary's Baby, in that it takes its time telling its story in order to reveal it's many hidden surprises.
Manahattanites Lincoln (Doug Cockle) and Sarah (Sarah Stewart) move to London with their baby and take up residency in a poshy reconverted old townhouse - not knowing that their new (but old) home, especially the basement, has a very serious past. Settling into their new lifestyle, Lincoln establishes his executive career with a popular high-end company in midtown. Meanwhile, Sarah and her baby are left alone in an environment that is not only foreign, but also extremely lonely -and director Robert Pratten does wonders with his leading lady by slowly revealing her American neurosis of the classic misplaced 'Yankee' in a new country.
With construction work going on throughout their new home, Sarah soon discovers a dark secret entombed in the basement. And this is where the film really takes off!
London Voodoo offers it all. Mystery and intrigue soon turn to paranoia and mounting terror. I'm not going to reveal any more of the storyline - you have to see this one for yourselves! The supporting cast, especially Trisha Mortimer, Sven-Bertil Taube and the vampy Vonda Barnes only add to the great atmosphere and subplots of the film. It's easy to see why director Robert Pratten won Best Director at the Fearless Tales Genre Fest. His attention to detail - especially his knowledge of the very intricate practices of voodoo, white and black magic and spells, is a lesson in itself.
And also noted is that his amazing ensemble' cast won the Best Acting accolades at the same festival- with kudos going to Cockle and Stewart.
Finally a creepy tale that relies on real actors - and not 'stars'. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but horror movies should always put characters first to pull you in before unleashing its fright upon the audience.
Much like the more polished fright flicks of the sixties such as Curtis Harrington's Games (1967), and even Freddie Francis' Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), London Voodoo is a cerebral and stylish foray into the horror/voodoo genre . chilling without showing much, therefore leaving a lot to the imagination - but trust me - you'll jump!