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Charisma Carpenter

Charisma Carpenter - "Voodoo Moon" Movie - Fangoria.com Review

Audrey Quaranta

Tuesday 17 October 2006, by Webmaster

Writer/director Kevin (THE FALLEN ONES) VanHook hasn’t made the best horror film with VOODOO MOON-but before you let that deter you from watching it, it should be explained that while the Anchor Bay DVD release isn’t actually scary, it does possess its fair share of creepy moments and presents a surprisingly strong and interesting story of good vs. evil. Though the disc features are a mixed bag, VOODOO MOON itself is worth a look.

Eric (RESIDENT EVIL) Mabius stars as Cole, a dark, handsome and brooding young man who has harnessed the powers of spiritual magic and dedicated himself to using them in the fight against the forces of darkness. These manifest themselves in a variety of forms-a flock of killer crows, zombies and a seemingly charming British gent named Daniel (Rik Young). They were also responsible for the death of Cole’s parents 20 years ago, when most of the small town he grew up in was massacred. He and his sister, clairvoyant artist Heather (BUFFY’s Charisma Carpenter), are reunited after having gone their separate ways by an urgent psychic call stemming from Cole; also responding are a group of misfit heroes including a biker (John Amos), a mystical healer (CUJO’s Dee Wallace Stone), a cop who won’t let death stop him (RE-ANIMATOR fave Jeffrey Combs) and an ex-flame (Jane Heitmeyer). Their connection is at first a mystery, but all arrive at a small Southern bed and breakfast near the massacre site aware that a battle awaits them. When Daniel shows up in their midst, things quickly turn treacherous and the group must risk their lives to stop the deadly evil once and for all.

The skinless creatures Daniel controls, the deadly birds, the ghouls and the bloody deaths they cause make for excellent freak-out moments thanks to well-done makeup FX. While the visual FX are also skillfully done, it would have benefitted the film to take Cole and Daniel’s powers, especially in their major fight scene, beyond electrical energy beams and fire. The cast is a strong one and their performances, especially that of Mabius, are strong and carry the well-written script. It is the story that truly makes VOODOO MOON worth watching; its unique blend of magic, spirituality and (occasional) horror within an old-fashioned plotline is refreshing, fun and an all-around good watch. While the dialogue is at times muffled, the Dolby Digital sound is otherwise full and clear, and the 1.78:1 picture is crisp and well-defined.

The extras include a pair of decent featurettes. You Reap What You Sew: The Making of VOODOO MOON delves into the plot, characters and the actors who play them in moderate detail for about 11 minutes. It could have been more extensive, but if you’re looking for basic facts, this segment is entertaining and interesting. The same goes for Black Magic: Creating the World of VOODOO MOON, a four-minute docu on the FX, in which we mostly learn about the use of greenscreen and digital technology. More coverage on the makeup FX is left wanting. Three deleted scenes are also offered, and they’re nothing that should’ve remained in the final cut. Only one offers anything important (though it’s still not necessary), another is only a brief dialogue extension and the third lacks sound throughout much of its length. They can be skipped over, even though they offer small peeks deeper into the plot.

VanHook is the sole speaker on the commentary track, and while his monologue is energetic, enthusiastic and informative, he shouldn’t have been expected to carry the track on his own. There are long pauses when he runs out of things to say, and the added input of at least another crew member or one of the actors would have helped move things along and added the viewpoint of a different experience. The photo gallery is better than most I’ve seen; it offers well-selected screen shots and a good number of behind-the-scenes pics, and every shot is actually worth viewing. Computer users will also be treated to the screenplay on DVD-ROM-and the story is actually good enough to warrant to read-through. If you’re looking to be frightened, VOODOO MOON isn’t the best flick for you; but if you’re willing to give up a bit of the chills for the sake of that well-executed, entertaining scenario, check this movie out.