Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Barry Ratcliffe, Eliza Swenson, Cory Knauf, Tasha Dixon, Larry Laverty, Julia Bindi, Stephanie Basco
Directed by Veronica Craven
So how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was fine. Being from the Deep South, I enjoyed some fine gumbo in lieu of the usual turkey. My turkey came in the form of a movie a tongue-in-cheek slasher flick about the murderous spirit of a Native American princess haunting a campground.
Pocahauntus. Does that title make you laugh? Does it make you giggle in the slightest? Let me repeat it. Pocahauntus. Laughing yet? I hope so because the title is the funniest aspect of the film. Never a good sign when the movie is supposed to be a horror comedy.
If the title doesn’t make you laugh then maybe a gynecologist named Dr. Anigav will get you giggling. Get it? Anigav? Spell it backwards. Funny, no? No. What if I told you there’s another character named Mangina. That’s two (count’em two!) plays on the word “vagina” in one film. That’s some top notch comedy there.
Initially I wasn’t even sure I wanted to bother with Pocahauntus, but then I read a five-star user review of the film on Netflix:
“Nothing but fun! This movie is campy, and never pretends to be anything other than a crazy, silly, funny, gross, ridiculous, and laugh out loud horror.”
The author of those user comments identified himself as Barry Ratcliffe, as in the same Barry Ratcliffe who both wrote and co-stars in the movie. He didn’t even try to hide his identity. That takes cajones. So I decided to take a chance on his film.
Mr. Ratcliffe is correct in saying that his movie never pretends to be anything other than what it is. The “nothing but fun”, “funny”, and “laugh out loud” statements I do have to take exception with. It’s obvious the players were having a fun time making it. But me, I didn’t laugh once. As a comedy it simply isn’t funny. As a horror movie it isn’t scary and most of the gore effects are so phony they’re more potentially laughable than any of the heinous dialogue. And if you’re going to put so much emphasis on sex, especially in a movie of this nature, yet only a single actress gets naked and only very briefly – really now; what’s the point?
The set-up is that the famous love story between Pocahontas and Englishman John Smith was just a romanticized tale manufactured by the ever-scheming white man. The truth was much uglier and when the young Indian princess died she swore supernatural vengeance for her people, who by that time had been wiped out. Her spirit now haunts these woods in Virginia killing anyone descended from the Jamestown settlers.
The last such incident was 100 years earlier. Now a greedy, lecherous landowner has inherited the woods she haunts and is looking to open it up for campers. He isn’t about to let any ghost stories stop him from making a buck no matter how much the local sheriff pleads with him.
A lazy surfer dude with a bossy girlfriend, a lesbian hippie tree hugger into bondage, a perpetually drunken socialite, a horny gynecologist (the Dr. Anigav I mentioned), a horny corporate yuppie, and a porn starlet (being horny goes without saying) all win a contest inviting them to the opening of the new campground.
Once they arrive, Pocahauntus settles into being more or less a Friday the 13th-style campground slasher flick burdened by sub-Troma level comedy. There really is no plot outside of a string of random kill vignettes mixed with lame comedy and moments of T&A that suffer from a distinct lack of T&A.
I think back to another campy, super low budget, horror comedy I reviewed a month ago: “>Night of the Flesh Eaters. That film had some real ingenuity and wit behind it. Pocahauntus only has a gimmicky title going for it.
I only need one knife to carve this Thanksgiving turkey.
1 out of 5
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