Voodoo Moon (2005) 1 brain1 brain

Voodoo Moon is obviously not going to be great cinema. It's got a bunch of B-list actors, albeit some good ones, and it was a made-for-TV movie. Nevertheless, it had promise. The premise is a man (Cole, played by Eric Mabius) who has spent his life fighting a particular incarnation of evil (a smarmy young man going by the name Daniel, played by Rik Young) calling in favors from all the people that he saved in the past for one final showdown. It sounds sort of like a Stephen King story, where random people from all walks of life drop everything to come together and fight. Cole also rounds up his sister Heather (Charisma Carpenter), whose sole purpose in the movie is to attract Buffy and Angel fans. Oh, and she's a psychic artist. Among Cole's friends are a cop (Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator fame), an ex-con mechanic (John Amos, of Good Times fame), a supernatural healer (an underused Dee Wallace, of Dee Wallace fame), a housewife, and some other nonspecified occupations.

"What about the zombies?" you ask. Daniel has the power to raise the dead and make them do his bidding, and can actually also control the living to some extent, but these zombies don't really ever get the spotlight. Daniel is the Bad Guy, and most of the focus is on fighting him.

So the premise is interesting, but unfortunately writer/director/producer Kevin VanHook has no idea how to build suspense or engage the viewer. Carpenter never impressed me as a particularly good actress, and she doesn't change my opinion here. Mabius is not much better. The supporting cast actually has much more acting talent, but, well, they're the supporting cast and don't get as much of the spotlight. Rik Young gives a decent performance, but it almost seems out of place amid the rest of the acting. Some of the best moments are throwaway scenes at the beginning of the movie as the plot and characters are established. I wish I could have watched a movie with just Jeffrey Combs and John Amos fighting Rik Young, and that might have held my attention better.

One thing VanHook does well is special effects. The fight scenes are pretty good, but except for the final battle, they come at you out of nowhere, and again with no particular sense of urgency. I just never really got involved. This is certainly better than a lot of the sewage out there, but it left me feeling that it could have been a lot better still.