DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
VENOM (director: Jim Gillespie; screenwriters: based on a story by Flint Dille, John Zuur Platten/Flint Dille, John Zuur Platten, Brandon Boyce; cinematographer: Steve Mason; editor: Paul Martin Smith; music: James L. Venable; cast: Rick Cramer (Ray), Agnes Bruckner (Eden), Jonathan Jackson (Eric), Bijou Phillips (Tammy), D.J. Cotrona (Sean), Deborah Duke (Miss Emmie),  Meaghan Good (Cece), Method Man (Deputy Turner) Stacey Travis, (Laura), Laura Ramsey (Rachel), Pawel Szadja (Ricky), Davetta Sherwood (Patty), Marcus Brown (Terry), James Pickens Jr. (Sheriff); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Kevin Williamson/Scott Faye/ Karen Lauder; Dimension Films/Outerbanks Entertainment and Collision Entertainment; 2005)

"A standard-issue popcorn horror pic."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A standard-issue popcorn horror pic about a backwater small town in the Louisiana bayou threatened by a cursed soul reanimated from the dead by a snake ritual gone amiss. Jim Gillespie ("I Know What You Did Last Summer"/"D-Tox") directs as if snake bitten from the retro horror pics of the '80s. It might be a blast for fans of low-rental slasher flicks who masturbate over blood and gore films. Others might be advised to stay clear of such garbage. It's based on a story for a video game by Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten. It's also written by them to appeal to the swamp crowd.

Red-neck gas station owner and tow-truck driver Ray (Rick Cramer) has the misfortune of trying to save the life of an old Creole healer, Miss Emmie (Deborah Duke), whose car is dangling from a bridge. She just finished a healing ritual and is traveling with a suitcase full of venomous serpents containing all the demons she has exorcised from past evil souls. After Ray's bitten and drowns, he vanishes at the morgue and becomes resurrected as an undead killer.

Taunted by the locals, Ray, with a belly full of snakes, now has the opportunity to get revenge on the ignorant townies who taunted him and anyone else in his path. That would include a bunch of blacks who are polished off first, the slutty blonde Tammy (Bijou Phillips) when caught robbing his empty gas station and the illegitimate son he despises Sean (D.J. Cotrona). There's also many other minor characters he brutally dispatches with ease before we even get to know much about them.

Trying to figure out a way to stop him are the town smarties: the Voodoo knowing Creole's grand-daughter Cece (Meaghan Good) and the smart high school bound for Columbia University scholarship girl Eden (Agnes Bruckner).

The supernatural effects have some scare value, and the horror story is well-executed. You get what you expect here, which is the right atmosphere for a horror pic set in the swamps with a possessed unstoppable demon crazed to kill. But you also get the usual crap associated with slasher pics-a trite story, wooden acting, idiotic screams and gratuitous bloody violence.

REVIEWED ON 3/15/2017       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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