Voodoo Curse: The Giddeh (2006)

Starring Glenn Plummer, Johann John Jean, Kira Madallo Sesay, Terry Bookhart, Randy Brooks, Reasure Jacobs

Written & directed by Glenn Plummer

Voodoo Curse: The Giddeh was written and directed by Glenn Plummer, a good actor who has appeared in blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow, in which he played the vagrant, and low budget yet high successful horror movies like Saw II, in which he played Jonas. Plummer has been appearing in movies and TV for nearly a decade, and I suppose it is because he has that much experience in the business that I was taken aback by just how amateurish this directorial debut of his was. If this were a film school project it would at least seem ambitious despite its technical deficiencies and overall badness. As a released to DVD movie that people are expected to pay money to see, quite frankly, it’s as bad as anything that any hack with a camera could churn out. Not only is the movie itself terrible, but so is the filmmaking. The pacing is pitiful, some of the editing decisions are quite dubious, and the picture quality sometimes changes; a couple quick scenes even suffer from having static and snow. I understand Plummer is a first-time filmmaker but given how long he’s been appearing in movies I suppose I expected better of him when he actually got around to making one.

Voodoo Curse: The Giddeh manages to completely sabotage itself within the first few minutes by telling us specifically which characters are going to die. Sure, with a movie of this type you can you can pretty much deduce which characters are dead meat anyway, but for goodness sake, don’t tell us right off the bat. This film opens with the last remaining survivor recounting the ordeal and running down a list of her friends that lost their lives, going so far as to put their image on the screen and nearly even tells us exactly what order they die in too. Last time I saw a movie do that it was House of the Dead, and we all know how well that one turned out.

The plot revolves around this powerful tome that the average person believes only contains African folklore but the folklore is for real and can actually conjure an evil African demon called The Giddeh. Glenn Plummer plays the college professor teaching his class about the African origins of voodoo and then has to come to the rescue after a student swipes it with hopes of impressing a female classmate, and inadvertently conjures up the demon.

In true bad horror movie fashion, much of the movie will revolve around characters you couldn’t give a crap about in varying degrees of horniness just killing time until its time to start killing them. Next to nothing happens for the first 35-minutes and then the demons don’t even begin their killer spree for about another fifteen. And when in doubt, Plummer the director falls back on extended montages of tribal dancing that for some reason reminded me of an old Grace Jones music video.

I kept trying to figure out if the plot was needlessly complex or just a jumbled mess. I came to realize that my confusion stemmed from a combination of my being so bored that I was soon barely paying attention and because the script kept rambling on and on about the backstory surrounding the Giddeh and what the consequences of unleashing it will be without giving me any reason to care one way or another. On top of that, the actual unleashing of the Giddeh takes forever and for a demon that supposedly wiped out 1,800 people, whose defea then was damn near impossible, The Giddeh we see comes across more like something from a bad Eighties death metal video and not nearly the all-powerful specter it’s built up to be. There are some potentially interesting ideas swimming around somewhere within the plot but it still all boils down to being just another lousy no-budget, shot-on-digital, horror flick about a bunch of horny young students that head out into the woods to die.

If not for a handful of unintentionally funny moments there wouldn’t be anything here to speak about at all. Almost all of those fleetingly campy moments come courtesy of one of Plummer’s students, at least I think he was supposed to be a student; who he is and what he knows is an integral part of the plot – sort of. Super serious in his demeanor to a comical degree, the guy looks like Jay Chandrasekhar’s Rastafarian tennis guru character from Club Dread decked out in traditional African garb with a large walking cane and, judging by his perpetual wide-eyed stare, a possible thyroid condition. The guy spends much of the first act haunting a college stairwell, acting all menacing and prophesizing doom to all that dare cross his path – on this stairwell. You know you’re in no budget filmmaking territory when a stairwell becomes the setting of so many scenes.

This guy then spends the duration of the second act in a car with Plummer’s college professor driving to the cabin in the woods; the whole time explaining, re-explaining, and then, just to make absolute certain we comprehend the gravity of the situation, triple explaining what will happen to those that unleash these powerful unholy demons. Ironically, I still didn’t completely understand. Admittedly this is my own fault. Actually, it’s also the movie’s fault for boring the hell out of me and daring me to start using the fast forward button.

On the plus side, the students enjoying a weekend getaway of fun and debauchery at a cabin in the woods won’t have to worry about conjuring the Giddeh so long as the blood of a virgin isn’t spilled completing the spell. Oh, it seems one of the classmates is a virgin and she’s bound and determined to get her cherry popped on this night. Well, sucks to be them.

When the Giddeh finally appears it is quite a sight to behold. Much of the time it’s visualized in much the same manner as the ghosts were John Carpenter’s The Fog – the original, not the abysmal remake. You know, enshrouded in darkness and fog, sometimes backlit, and possessing glowing eyes. In this case, not just glowing eyes; we’re talking red eyes that light-up as if they’re battery operated. It’s a little goofy and a little cool, but it’s too little too late once they finally appear. Heck, sometimes we even see the demon and it looks like the African guy stripped to his skivvies, covered in tribal paint, and with a mouth full of plastic fangs. Hold on, this does indeed appear to be the same exact guy only now he’s prowling the woods “Hungry like the Wolf” style. I’m so confused again. Oh, and more tribal dancing too, and thank goodness because there hasn’t already been enough of that padding out the running time.

And despite constantly being told about how the Giddeh kills in such a horrific manner – the person is dismembered alive with the head saved for last as the death blow – we never get to see the kills. I’m really not a gorehound, but if your movie constantly talks up how victims will have their limbs ripped off one-by-one before finally having their head torn off, I do expect to see this gruesome act carried out. Aside from one fleeting moment of seeing a head ripped off all we ever see is the dimly lit aftermath of the kills. So not only is the film not scary in the least, we don’t even see most of the kills, and the kills are the main thing the script keeps talking up.

The film’s ending only serves as a stark reminder that anyone that watches Voodoo Curse: The Giddeh did indeed just waste 90-minutes of their life for nothing.

One cannot accuse Glenn Plummer of crafting this as a vanity project since he’s saddled himself with only a minor supporting role, but with all due respect to Mr. Plummer, I’d suggest he stick to acting.

1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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