“Most ghost stories have some basis in truth.”
Essentially an amalgamation of tropes from previous beloved horror films. Like if you took those films and put them into a blender. There are elements of Candyman; I don’t just mean because of Tony Todd’s involvement. Additionally, there were elements of Halloween, with an uncompromising killer wielding a shovel. Points for weapon originality. Of all the weapons that my mind could have conceived, a shovel wouldn’t have been at the top of my list. However, all things considered, it proved to be effective weapon. The film gets off to a bad start as it essentially drops us in the middle of situation with no understanding of what has supposedly occurred. Makes it quite difficult to become invested when things start off so disjointed. The Devilreaux is presented as a modern day boogeyman (another element of the film). However, prior to the mention of his name, we have no frame of reference of who or what he is. I suspect the goal was to build intrigue, but given that the killer strikes within the opening scenes, it would have been nice to have some context to the character. Bare minimum, we need a title card with some basic information, so we are stumbling around in the dark, which is how it felt for the initial fifteen minutes.
As I said, the film got off to a bad start, and if I’m being honest, things did not improve as it went on. For one, the story is told secondhand through the guise of an expert who clearly buys into the hype. The overacting is abundant and impossible to ignore. I don’t usually cringe over details such as this, but I most certainly did with this film. As someone who in recent years has become quite fond of horror movies, this movie does nothing for the genre. There wasn’t a period where I was engrossed or enamored with the story. Not even the presence of horror movie icon, Tony Todd, whose status the film was obviously hoping to capitalize on, was enough to give the film quality.
The film is too disjointed; it jumps all over the place. One minute we are in the hospital getting a firsthand recount from a survivor. The next, we are in a restaurant with the investigating officer as she learns more about the urban legend, and then we are suddenly transported back to the 1800s to a plantation in Louisiana. It is too all-over-the-place, thereby obliterating any prospect of a cohesive story. All of this to thrust us back into modern day. While I understand the necessity for the character’s backstory, I disagree with its execution. Additionally, the backstory drags on too long and only prolongs the confusion. That may be my biggest gripe with the film, the ridiculous layout of the story. For me, it’s unwatchable.
Even attempts to interweave a mystery with the horror just adds to the confusion. I’ve never been more lost in the sauce with a movie. This storyline in itself was unnecessary, or at the very least should have only been window dressing, something that should have been introduced at the beginning with the detective interviewing the survivor and reintroduced at the conclusion of the survivor’s account. Making it a subplot was a mistake. Not to mention, the acting was not sufficient enough to warrant added attention. That actually goes for the whole film. Unfortunately, this includes Tony Todd, whose role is minimal, but even so he is far from the intimidating presence that he once was.
This is a film to avoid. I wish I had a kind word to say about it, but I have none. I could not get comfortable with the storyline. It tries to do too many things, and it ultimately feels like rehash of tropes of horror movies past. As I said, I give points for the unique weapon choice, but outside of that there is nothing to make this an experience worth your time.