Ryan Caltagirone as Aiden Chase
Dominic Conti as Bob
David Thomis Jenkins as Cody
Kerry Knuppe as Bree Nelson
Frank Lngley as Tormentor
Danny Trejo as Kross
Voodoo is great fodder for a horror film, but unfortunately the concept is not applied well very often. A marked exception to this is the fantastic The Serpent and the Rainbow, which is very true to the realities of Voodoo, an African religion meshed with strong elements of Catholicism over time. Voodoo itself is intriguing, with colorful practices, saints and demons, and of course… zombies.
Voodoo Possession starts with a “do gooder” research doctor Cody (David Thomis) who’s disappeared after traveling to Haiti to assist in a “Western Style” psychiatric ward. This institution is considered Western Style because treatments based on the western understanding of psychosis and psychological wellbeing are applied, rather than the standard Voodoo assumption that if someone is acting weird it’s because they are possessed by a spirit or demon. Cody’s brother Aiden (Ryan Caltagirone) accompanies his ex girlfriend Bree (Kerry Knuppe) to Haiti as a production assistant to her tabloid-type show doing an investigation on the psychology ward and the disappearance of the western doctor – that is presumably, but ultimately they are both there to see if they can uncover the mystery of Cody’s disappearance and bring him home.
Voodoo Possession definitely makes some serious attempts to be respectful of some actual elements of the Voodoo religion, and the dangers that lurk when those who practice it venture to the dark side in search of power. More dominant than the Voodoo elements, though, are the soap opera elements of a long standing feud between the brothers, and the love triangle with Bree. Danny Trejo is thrown into the mix as a medical assistant named Kross, but his inclusion doesn’t seem to accomplish anything other than get a name that is currently hot with the horror watching community on the marquee. It turns out that there have been years of turmoil between the brothers, cheating, lying, and a secret that is so deep inside that it doesn’t want to come out… luckily they all venture deep into the dark spirit world and those who want to attack them can do so with their own memories as ammunition.
The acting performances are fine – definitely not stellar, but not bad enough to be distracting.Voodoo Possession is obviously low budget so the sets and props are quite simple, but effective. After watching the special featurette “making of” presentation it is known that the attempt was to make a real voodoo movie that really hits the realities of the darkness that can befall the power hungry; they about half way suceeded. A bit more darkness, or a bit more of what torments a person inside their own minds (I hate to completely compare to Rainbow, but Wes Craven really nailed that element in that film, much more effectively than this one).
The end result is that Voodoo Possession plays like a standard SyFy Channel made for cable horror film. My bad, I don’t know if this actually was a SyFy film, or perhaps a Fearnet film, but if it’s not it could have been. Cameos of unnecessary characters like Danny Trejo just so they can take top billing on the poster is annoying, but it’s an unfortunate reality of the movie business I guess. He’s fine, but irrelevant. Voodoo Possession is not going to win any awards or break any barriers, but in terms of enjoyable horror it comes in smack dab in the middle of “average”.