Written by: Chad Langen
Wow, I can't believe the early screeners I've been able to attend this year. First "Wolf Creek", then "Cry Wolf", and now the seemingly dreaded "Venom" (aka "Backwater", "The Reaper").
You would have thought after the hell Dimension Film's "Cursed" went through that the studio would have learned their lesson. Well judging by "Venom, apparently not. "Venom" is yet another teen-slasher flick along the lines of "Scream" where a group of outwardly stupid youths get mixed up in situations where they unexpectedly die in. Much to my surprise, however, "Venom" isn't total crap. In fact, "Venom" has a few death scenes that in my opinion are gruesomly entertaining. Though the story is several notches below original, it still manages to sustain a creepy existence that the audience can somewhat enjoy.
"Venom" is set in the Louisiana Bayou where a man by the name of Mr. Jangles is a man who is possessed by 13 evil souls killed by a voodoo priestess. Mr. Jangles becomes evil and collects keys as trophies from his victims.
The characters in the story are vastly stereotypical. There's the crazy voodoo lady who, you guessed it, is black. There's the attractive protagonist who has lost a loved one (the only dramatic element in the film which is focused on way too much). There's the air-headed boyfriend who for some odd reason enjoys the swamps. Weird. There's the goofy kid, and you can probably guess the rest.
Acting is never taken seriously in these types of film, at least not by me. So yes, the acting is poor. I mean, what did you expect from a film starring Method Man? How any of these actors won their roles is beyond me? It looked like they were picked randomly off the streets. But like I said, with this type of film the performances aren't necessarily important.
The directing is horrible, plain and simple. Apparently this guy caught the Uwe Boll-a virus. I found the sudden movements very unappealing to the eyes several times throughout the film. I'm usually impressed by a dark atmosphere and morbid looking cinematography in genral, however, with "Venom" it just became annoying.
Gore, in my opinion, isn't the most important factor of a film. I always stretch my idea of the story being the most important access. So if there's no story what do you look at next? Well, then the gore comes into place. The brutality in "Venom" is what most will call over-the-top. If you saw "House of Wax" early this year and enjoyed in, then you might be impressed with the gore-factor "Venom" has to offer. There's deaths involving hanging by chains, an impaling on a tree branch, and I won't spoil all of the goods for you but I will say that the film gets gritty at times.
I don't know what's happening with Kevin Williamson lately. I used to love watching this guy's work. I won't say that his ideas have run try for he's come up with some sweet premises, but from the time the film is announced until the time it is released, something is going terribly wrong. Where's the guy who brought us "Scream" and "The Faculty"? We want him back.
I would have given "Venom" a lower rating, but I was impressed by the demises that took place within the film. And the although the story was rather cheap, I still found it to be slightly entertaining.
Overall, "Venom" is yet another cheesy teen-slasher flick that'll probably fail to produce a decent sized audience. If you're looking for a good slasher film, I would suggest you avoid "Venom" and see "Cry Wolf" instead. However, if you're looking for something more on the lines of Voodoo, check out "The Skeleton Key". As for "Venom", I'd suggest saving your money until it hits dvd.