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Venom (2005)

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Plot Summary:
"After the town freak Ray Sawyer is killed in a freak accident involving voodoo related material, local teens' bodies soon start piling up. A few of the teens decide to visit a friends house in the swamps of Louisiana to find out if she knows what's going on, but they soon realize that Ray is possessed by evil spirits of murderers and evil souls and worser...Ray has found the teens and is armed with a crowbar. With only voodoo protecting them, the teens must survive his clutches or become his next victims."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 27 January 2010 My Rating: out of 5


Set in Louisiana, surly trucker (Rick Cramer) gets into an auto accident with the local voodoo woman, who just happens to be carrying snakes that hold some evil souls. Put the two together and hey, presto! You got yourself a seemingly unstoppable, zombie trucker killer who preys on the young folk in the area, including the voodoo ladyís granddaughter (Meagan Good). Agnes Bruckner and Jonathan Jackson are an on-and-off couple, whilst a slumming Bijou Phillips plays the resident tart (a big stretch, no doubt). James Pickens Jr., and Method Man play the local law enforcement.

This film from director Jim Gillespie isnít exactly the giant killer snake film the title implies, instead itís a mixture of voodoo horror, zombie flick, and Gillespieís 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'. Thankfully, itís better than the aforementioned slasher yawner, but still not all that great. Call it 'I Know What You Did Last Summer Down on the Bayou'. Aside from a few unnecessary jump cuts, Gillespie at least proves he knows how to lens a film, with help from cinematographer Steve Mason ('Strictly Ballroom' of all films), and this is a surprisingly atmospheric, visually impressive film. Very good music score by James L. Venable, as well. Look out for the scene where a house is literally taken apart, ala 'Razorback'. Very cool.

Itís the script that is lacking here, itís pretty ho-hum, even if it does combine a voodoo slant with a slasher plot. The characters are stock and not the slightest bit interesting. Most of them arenít even likeable, save for the lovely Bruckner, the best actor in the film (kudos for at least one unexpected character death, though). The film also isnít very gory, though the killer sure is brutal. Most of the red stuff happens off-screen.

Not the worst horror flick out there, but nowhere near a classic. At least itís short.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 28 April 2006 My Rating: out of 5

Jim Gillespie re-teams with Kevin Williamson (the duo brought us 1997's I Know What You Did Last Summer) for this tale of teenage voodoo in the swamps of Louisiana.

When town creep/tow truck driver Ray Sawyer is involved in a car accident on a bridge with voodoo priestess Miss Emmie, the man tries to save her. As he lifts her from her car she begs him to get the suitcase on the back seat, but it bursts open and the car falls over the bridge as Ray is bitten to death by the venomous snakes that had been contained within.

When Ray's body, along with that of the Coroner and the Deputy disappear, and one of the local kids sees Ray's old tow truck near the cemetery, the teens of Backwater become suspicious. It soon transpires that the snakes had been used for numerous milking rituals, and that Ray has been filled with the venom of countless evil souls and is now motivated to kill for sacrificial reasons. The kids who teased Ray mercilessly now face a very deadly threat in the swamps of Louisiana.

Being that I'm a huge slasher fan, I was dying to see this, so spent most of the day trying to find a copy.

The film starts out pretty slowly, introducing us to the characters before the inciting incident takes place and from then on in, it's a fast paced little shocker with plenty blood, guts and gore to keep horror fans happy.

The film clocks in at roughly 80 minutes so there isn't much time for story development, but we get all we need to know minus the fat. The cast are very good with some familiar indie actors playing the teens, and the villain is kind of creepy too.

It is evident when watching the film that studio involvement had something to do with the way this turned out. Dumped on 500 screens stateside last year to fulfill contract obligations, Venom received mainly positive reviews but no-one can find the damn movie anywhere to see it!

2005 was not a good year for Kevin Williamson with this and Cursed being butchered by the studios, and poor Jim Gillespie has suffered this treatment before with 2002's D-Tox. Give Venom a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised. It's not the best or most original film ever, but it's a great throwback to the heyday of 80's horror.

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