I’m going to just slap a spoiler warning on this one and not even attempt to dance around it.
Three things came to mind while watching this film, all of which are relatively odd and amazing thoughts for someone who dislikes home invasion horror as much as I do:
1. I had no interest in turning this film off like I normally to with a home invasion/torture pron style movie. I did, however, turn down the volume. Yep, it’s using that type of language. Shouldn’t be that huge of a shock though.
2. More home invasion flicks should involve voodoo. Yes, voodoo. More on that in a minute.
3. I could come to terms with the rape as plot device thing if the woman who was assaulted got to brain her attacker with household items more often. Actually, like, can we just go all I Spit on Your Grave every time that trope is used?
I’ve been fairly vocal that I dislike home invasion horror as a whole, so while I don’t think that everyone should go out and watch a movie because of my recommendation, the fact that I, as someone who gets weirded out in an unenjoyable manner, took pains to ensure that I could watch this movie in an apartment with extremely thin walls should say something. The film follows a slightly stale formula (woman comes home with friends, two ex cons break into the house, all hell breaks loose) but the acting keeps the film from seeming slow and the plot moves forward easily.
About that voodoo. Voodoo in horror is a strange thing for me, because of that whole ‘I’m a Pagan and therefore practice a minority faith, can we not make monsters out of minority faiths’ thing. I feel like I just need to put that out there. But. Coven is my favorite season of AHS and the usage in this movie doesn’t bother me in the same way that Coven didn’t bother me. I really doubt that this movie hired a houngan like Coven did (yes, Coven did have faith based technical staff on the payroll-the veves are close enough to be believable but wrong enough that no one can do anything stupid with them), and Witchdoctor does fall into a lot of the traditional mishandlings of the religion (they mean it when they use the term ‘wet sacrifice’). What I’m saying is that I’ve seen a lot of movies do a lot worse handling Pagan style religion (I’m still pissed at Supernatural and their ‘kill the Pagan gods’ arcs) even if they do fall into the ‘human sacrifice’ trap…but then, AHS had Leveau burying people alive for two centuries and a heavy handed dash of necromancy. So.
There’s also at least one veiled suggestion in the movie itself suggesting that what goes on in the basement isn’t sanctioned (‘Larry forgot the rooster, so we have to use you.’).
In the end, if you’re the type to get really bothered by inaccurate portrayals of religion in film or the use of religious images in horror, avoid the film. But it’s not portraying itself as accurate either, and like I said before, there’s a lot more openly offensive images you’re going to find in horror-land. It’s hard for me to accurately express my feelings on this one, but I’m more okay with its over the top, extreme wrongness than I am with a lot of the straight-faced poppets and top hats that show up in a lot of movies.
Don’t watch this one with the kids. Or do it knowing full well I told you not to. And you might not want to with thin walls.