Maverick Entertainment strikes again. Another dull, uninspired effort from the company, which is starting to make Full Moon’s ’90s urban horror output look like Citizen Kane. Likable character actor Glenn Plummer — of Speed, Saw II, The Day After Tomorrow and er, Showgirls fame — wrote and directed The Giddeh, so while I’d say that he’s above this mess, he’s also the main one to blame.
What should be a simple story about college kids being stalked by a spirit in the woods is padded out with incoherent, overly explanatory dialogue telling the tale of how evil the giddeh is and what it will do to you and why it will do it and when it will do it and how it will feel when it’s doing it…and I still didn’t get it. I think that a giddeh is supposed to be some sort of African voodoo priest, and this particular giddeh invoked evil spirits back in the year 2000 B.C. and somehow became an evil spirit himself.
Plummer plays Professor Jenkins, who teaches a class on the giddeh and actually has possession of the sacred giddeh books that can conjure the evil spirit, so hey, why not have them just lying around in his office for anyone to steal? That nutty professor! Dopey frat guy Carl (Johann John Jean) takes the books in hopes that reading them will endear him to the film’s heroine, Little T (Terry Bookhart). That’s right, I said “Little T.” As kids are prone to do in horror films, Carl, Little T and company go into the woods to party, and it’s up to Jenkins and his trusty sidekick Zende (Jesse Wells Martin) to stop the giddeh from tearing them to pieces.
Zende’s purpose apparently is to spew overwrought warnings about how dangerous the giddeh is (think Dr. Loomis from Halloween, but incompetent to stand trial). It takes the duo half of the movie to drive to the kids’ cabin, giving Zende plenty of time to rattle off aspects of the giddeh mythology: rituals, idols, chants, something about three sins, virgin blood, something about killing the conjurer, the fact that it gains extra powers at dawn, not looking it in the eyes and not taking post-dated checks.
To further confuse matters, the same guy who plays Zende plays the giddeh, so it’s never clear if he’s a good giddeh fighting against the evil giddeh or if he’s conjuring the evil giddeh or if he actually is the evil giddeh. One thing is clear: I need a Zoloft.
As a horror villain, the giddeh itself has potential. The character design, with its sharp teeth, painted body, long, stringy hair, and glowing eyes, could be scary in the right hands, but with writing this scattershot, the viewer checks out long before the spirit even shows up. I would complain about a subplot involving T’s jealous boyfriend Randy (who, based on the credits, seems to be played by her real-life brother — kinky!) that goes NOWHERE, but resolving it would’ve meant another five minutes of added footage, a torture that not even the giddeh could match.