Rating 2¼

Directed by Jim Gillespie

Written by Flint Dille, John Zuur Platten and Brandon Boyce, from a story by Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten

Starring Agnes Bruckner (Eden Sinclair), Jonathan Jackson (Eric), Laura Ramsey (Rachel), D J Cotrona (Sean), Meagan Good (CeCe), Rick Cramer (Ray Sawyer), Bijou Phillips (Tammy), Davetta Sherwood (Patty), Pawel Szajda (Ricky), Stacy Travis (Laura Sinclair), Marcus Lyle Brown (Terry Parker), James Pickens Jr (Sheriff), Deborah Duke (Miss Emmie) and Method Man (Deputy Turner)

Following an automobile accident on the outskirts of a small town in Louisiana, Ray Sawyer, the owner of a local filling station, dies while rescuing an elderly woman from her car before it falls off a bridge into the swamp below. An old battered suitcase inside the car contains poisonous snakes, talismans used in voodoo ceremonies to suck evil spirits out of people. The body of Ray is now possessed by these evil spirits and goes on a murderous rampage.


‘Venom’ is a by-the-numbers horror film directed by Jim Gillespie, whose previous films include the 1997 box-office hit ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’. It was produced by Kevin Williamson, the writer of that film and ‘Scream’ (and its immediate sequel). Williamson was also the creator of the television series ‘Dawson’s Creek’. The film went on release in American cinemas in 2005 just a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina had caused widespread devastation and loss of life in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana and grossed just $882,000 at the box office. It was slated by critics and has a 10% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 61 reviews.

This is a fairly run-of-the-mill horror film that offers nothing new and conforms to all the clichés one might expect from a film of this type in this setting, as evocative as it is. I quite like the early scenes, up to and immediately after the automobile accident, but after that it somewhat predictably degenerates into a bloodbath with decidedly too much screaming for my liking. However, although it is all rather mediocre, it is also effectively done, given that there are several gaping holes in the plot, and I actually quite enjoyed it. Agnes Bruckner, whose other films include ‘Murder by Numbers’, ‘The Woods’ and ‘Blood and Chocolate’, is competent and believable in the lead role.

Review posted 8 November 2009


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