If zombies made a comeback in theatrical-release horror in 2004, then 2005 was the year for voodoo (albeit much less successfully), with Skeleton Key and Venom. Whereas Skeleton Key was a pleasant surprise, though, there’s little pleasant about this amazingly bland horror entry (The SyFy-quality digital effects certainly don’t help matters.).
The set-up is decent enough: a voodoo priestess (Deborah Duke) in Louisiana (Who isn’t a voodoo priestess in Louisiana?) misplaces her box of snakes infected with the souls of evil men. (Check under the sink?) The snakes bite local yokel Ray (Rick Cramer), turning him all dead and evil and stuff.
Like the action and writing, the character design for the bad guy is pretty uninspired. I guess they were trying to make him appear increasingly snake-like, but he just ends up looking like a textbook case of psoriasis (which explains why the director always has him obscured either by shadows or an annoying shaky camera effect). Being a Louisiana voodoo tale, there are plenty of black characters to go around in Venom (six, by my count), but all except one are unceremoniously offed without a single decent death scene, merely means to boost the body count and help the white lead survive. Even Method Man manages only about five minutes of screen time before he’s done in. Where’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard when you need him?