Pocahauntus (2008)

Pocahauntus reviewReviewed 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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  • bratcliffe

    I couldn’t agree with you more, I think this is the best film I have ever seen. And you are 100% correct, “the title is the funnest” and it is “more or less Friday the 13th”. I just saw the film again this morning and I don’t want to put the pervebial oscar before the horse head in the bed cart, but I think it has a real shot this year.
    And yes, I would be the same Barry Ratcliffe with the big “cajones”, thanks for noticing. And truly, thanks for the review. I have had the good fortune of being a full time actor for 15 years from series, to big budget films, and it is sooooo much fun to get together with friends and challenge “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” for the title of worse film ever. I am sorry you didn’t enjoy the film as much as I did, I went to a few screenings where it was a big hit, maybe because they served alcohol, not sure. What I am sure of, it that I am thankful for your watching and appreciate your feedback. On a scale from Meg Ryans latest unwatchable straight to video 44 Million dollar fiasco “My Moms New Boyfriend”, and Al Pacino’s disastrous “88 Minutes”, to say “Casablanca”, I am proud that Pocahauntus is a film. Keep up the great work, and I’ll keep shooting for the center of the earth.

  • Styling Shatner

    When I saw the title of this movie, I just knew who reviewed it. I feel bad for Foy sometimes that he has to watch stuff like this.

    It’s interesting that it’s a horror-themed movie directed by a woman, but it sounds comparable to Doris Wishman’s A Night To Dismember. Whether Veronica is as prolific as Doris, or if her overall quality is as bad as Doris, who knows.

  • FilmCritic3000

    Does she sing a song entitled “The Colors of the Broken Wind”. Because you know, that’s funny and stuff. Well, at least to them it would be.

    • Blockbuster

      Heh…Broken wind…I looked at that for like 5 minutes trying to figure that one out…I’m such a moron. LOL…that is pretty funny.

  • Johnny Butane

    Between the title and that simply amazing artwork being used for the DVD cover, how could anyone pass this by at the video store?

  • frank_dracman

    Pocahauntus! Damn that’s funny. So funny and clever in fact, let’s make a movie with that title! People will see it for the title alone! Quick Johnson, go get some friends and your camera. While you are doing that, I’ll sit here and write a script.