London Voodoo

Maintaining a straight face even as the action takes a turn toward the ludicrous, English horror entry should please genre fans, though it lacks the originality or name thesps that might've merited theatrical pickup. Debut feature for writer-helmer Robert Pratten is a mixed bag, but suggests better things to come, and will prove a viable rental item.

With:
With: Doug Cockle, Sara Stewart, Michael Nyqvist, Trisha Mortimer, Sven-Bertil Taube, Vonda Barnes, Steve O'Halloran, Roy Borrett, Carmen Abela.

Maintaining a straight face even as the action takes a turn toward the ludicrous, English horror entry “London Voodoo” should please genre fans, though it lacks the originality or name thesps that might’ve merited theatrical pickup. Debut feature for writer-helmer Robert Pratten is a mixed bag, but suggests better things to come, and will prove a viable rental item.

Yankee yuppies Lincoln (Doug Cockle) and Sarah (Sara Stewart) have just moved with their toddler daughter into a spacious London home, drawn here by transfer of his high-pressure corporate job. Her ambivalence about the uprooting suddenly changes upon discovery of two entwined skeletons hidden beneath the cellar floorboards. Reason for Sarah’s turnaround — and increasingly bizarre behavior — turns out to be her possession by the spirit of an African warrior-priestess killed here long ago. Slowly paced exercise is well-directed and shot, though some viewers may titter as the somewhat bland Sarah turns aggressive sex-bomb nutcase (“Faggot! If you can’t keep me satisfied, then I’ll find someone who will!” she barks at her astonished hubby) and terrorizes an au pair (Vonda Barnes) whose junior-seductress role seems gratuitous. Package is slick on a budget.

London Voodoo

U.K.

Production: A Zen Films production. Produced by Robert Pratten. Executive producer, Helen Pratten. Directed, written by Robert Pratten.

Crew: Camera (color, Super 16mm-to-35mm), Patrick Jackson; editor, Matt Jessee; production designer, Rebecca Pilkington; music, Steven Severin. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, May 14, 2004. Running time: 99 MIN.

With: With: Doug Cockle, Sara Stewart, Michael Nyqvist, Trisha Mortimer, Sven-Bertil Taube, Vonda Barnes, Steve O'Halloran, Roy Borrett, Carmen Abela.

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