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Charisma Carpenter

Charisma Carpenter - "Voodoo Moon" Tv Movie DVD - Monstersandcritics.com Review

Friday 6 October 2006, by Webmaster

“Evil takes many forms.”

A tiny Midwestern town is torn apart by demonic forces that use its own people to kill each other. Two siblings, Cole (Eric Mabius) and Heather (Charisma Carpenter) are the only ones to survive the terrible onslaught. As it turns out, the Devil himself is the one who executed the attack on the city and its inhabitants, and after decades on hiatus, he returns to claim the lives of the two kids he missed the first time around.

Cole is a “minion exterminator” of sorts who has adopted the beliefs of several major religions in order to gain the ultimate faith based power: the ability to shoot demon-quenching fireballs and lightning bolts out of various spiritual tools like the Bible or a voodoo trinket.

Heather (Charisma Carpenter) is an artist with the extraordinary ability to see catastrophic or violent acts long before they happen, and prepare accordingly. The trick is, she never really uses her skills to do anything worthwhile, instead opting to let Cole handle everything.

Cole and Heather begin their hunt for Satan by gathering a “spirit squad” composed of a small handful of people that Cole has assisted over the years. Cole pleads each of them to come to their aid through mental waves.

The supporting cast is quite large, as is quite common in schlocky horror movies, but the backing actors in Voodoo Moon actually bring some humor and drama to a sub-par script. Frank Taggert (Jeffry Combs) plays a criminal investigator who becomes possessed after witnessing a creepy priest carrying out an equally creepy ceremony on a fair (and naked) damsel in distress.

A few key narrative points are left unexplained. How exactly did Cole and Heather receive their powers? Some extra details on Cole’s faith-building exercises would’ve helped quite a bit, but Heather’s psychic knack goes unexplained during the entire course of the movie. She just starts sensing things, and then they happen.

Also, in a scene near the start of the movie, Heather draws a picture out of her mind’s eye which clearly shows a man (Cole’s former voodoo teacher) being attacked and killed by a huge flock of crows. Not 30 minutes later, in a discussion with the suave and demonic Daniel (Rik Young), she reveals the inconvenient fact that she has never seen any of the victims’ faces in her “visions”. Holes like this pop up through the entirety of the production.

Several side-stories begin during the course of the flick and then simply end with no resolution, most likely for the sake of the overall narrative arc. Each character has a subplot that explains a prior history with Cole and nothing else. The subplots essentially serve as a tool to gather the cast together for the final brawl (which is actually a bit disappointing after all the fanfare).

The digital effects are well done - if sometimes a bit cheesy. The scene that immediately pops into my mind is the corn field fight where Heather becomes engulfed in a writhing mass of wriggling vines extending from Daniel’s fingertips. At the very least, the every last effect is free of reveals such as video artifacts or visible suspension cables.

The first extra is “You Reap What You Sew”, a mini-documentary detailing the creative process for Voodoo Moon, and features cast and crew interviews that give a clearer picture of the casting choices and plot construction. The feature comes in at 11:30.

A second documentary aptly titled “Black Magic” examines the numerous effects and action shots in the film and gives the standard “behind the green screen” footage. The post-production of this short segment (only 4:16!) is top notch, and rivals that of the actually movie itself, but ultimately offers the viewer little interesting information.

There are three deleted scenes: an extended art gallery segment, graveyard visit and car ride. Each comes in at well under five minutes. Writer/director Kevin VanHook provides an extremely detailed commentary track for the movie, and really gets into the nooks and crannies of the directing process. It was really amazing to find out just how much care and attention VanHook put into every frame, from the tinny music playing on a bathroom radio (written and played by the director himself) or the difficulties of managing child actors who just don’t want to behave on set.

Other extras include bio sheets for a handful of the crew members, a stills gallery featuring images from the movie, previews of other Anchor Bay DVD releases and a host of DVD-ROM features.

Plot holes be damned, Voodoo Moon tries desperately to rise above the B-movie status it seemed destined to inherit. The production values and moments of humor from the supporting cast bring the whole movie slightly above par, but it all still suffers from a “been there, done that” feeling that I just couldn’t shake off. Possibly worth a buy for horror/sci-fi types and for anyone else, a weekend rental of Voodoo Moon wouldn’t be a bad idea.