Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
After a tragic car accident kills the local Voodoo Priestess and town freak, Ray Sawyer, that old black magic brings him back. As a voodoo curse turns Ray into an unstoppable killing machine hell bent on murdering everyone he can get his hands on.
Is it good movie?
"Venom" has something going for it that very few modern genre flicks have as of late… a little bit of originality. This is not a sequel or a remake, re-imagining (whatever you want to call them). And most importantly it is not a PG-13 Voodoo borefest ("The Skeleton Key" anyone). It attempts to inject new life into the slasher genre but it seldom succeeds. Everything about this movie should have made for a terrific horror show but something was missing from this gumbo. Instead of a nice spicy recipe, we get a pretty bland mix leaving me with a bad taste. The characters were cliche, the script felt “off” and to top it all off you have some bad CGI snakes. I wanted to like this movie much more than I did but it left me cold. It’s hard to narrow down exactly where it came up short. I think somewhere between the script, pacing and structure it didn’t click. There was nothing here to make it really stand out.
Was there any bite to this beast? Sure there was - my favorite being Ray Sawyer (the terrific Rick Cramer). Even before his little Voodoo mishap, he gives a great show as the town freak. The kind of misunderstood loner that every town has; the one who just wants to be left alone when all the teenagers keep trying to antagonize him. And when a Voodoo curse takes his soul and turns him into Mr. Jangles, keychain on his side, crowbar in hand, he kicks serious ass. This guy is scary and when he kills he relishes in it. Aside from that we get a nice little sequence in an old Voodoo Priestess’ house. I dug the showdown between Ray and the surviving teens. Is it just me or was this action reminiscent of JAWS when Roy Scheider and the gang smack down with Bruce the shark? Well maybe more like JAWS 2. Albeit it worked very well and was definitely a highlight. We also get some pretty good performances from most of the WB looking cast. I dug the chemistry between Eric (Jonathan Jackson) and Eden (Agnes Bruckner), good job kids. On top of that you have some really fantastic locations here. The Louisiana Bayou was a perfect locale and Jim Gillespie really knows how to use it well. But in the end, "Venom" felt a tad too generic for my tastes. Not a complete waste of time but something you’ll forget soon after.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Wow, Dimension really didn’t give much love for this flick. Not much meat on them bones folks.
Voodoo Nightmare: The Making of Venom (8:39)
A little making of featurette where you learn from Bijou Phillips that Voodoo is “bad” and Kevin Williamson (Producer) tells us that we need another Jason or Freddy and Mr. Jangles is it; maybe not buddy. This is the best feature we get folks.
Storyboard to Film Comparison
This includes four sequences shown with the accompanying storyboards. We get "Crash on Bridge" (2:38), "Towing the House" (:40), "Rachel Gets Impaled" (1:27) and finally "The Mausoleum" (1:36). Nothing special here, it's been done much better.
We get to see how well some of the supporting characters did on their auditions. Including Rick Cramer (1:18), D.J. Cotrona (1:16), Laura Ramsey (1:15), Pawel Szajda (:51), Davetta Sherwood (:31) and Bijou Phillips (:36). This is an okay feature especially if you want to hear how some of the dialogue changed from the finished project. Interesting, but where are Jonathan and Agnes? Would have been cool to see how those two did.
If it’s Friday night and you have nothing better to do, Venom is a good watch. It’s not a bad film, not bad at all. Start off with a cool premise and a couple of semi-original ideas and all we get is a generic slasher flick, too bad. But thanks to Rick Cramer you get a pretty bad ass villain you can have some fun with. It’s worth a watch and certainly better than most of the standard PG-13 waste that Hollywood’s been serving up. Just don’t expect too much and you’ll be fine. What’s your poison?