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  London Voodoo Supernatural Suburbia
Year: 2004
Director: Robert Pratten
Stars: Doug Cockle, Sara Stewart, Vonda Barnes, Michael Nyqvist, Trisha Mortimer, Sven-Bertil Taube, Steve O'Halloran, Roy Borrett, Carmen Abela, Kevin Stone, Marc Appleby
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lincoln (Doug Cockle) and Sarah (Sara Stewart) are an American married couple with a young child who have recently moved into a suburban London house as this will be nearer Lincoln's new place of work. At first all seems to be well, and they hire an au pair called Kelly (Vonda Barnes) to help out around the house and look after the child, but is she as level headed as she first appears? However, a more pressing matter has arisen when two workmen converting the house's basement find a slab of concrete in the floor and attempt to break it open to see what's underneath. This results in a fuse being blown and one of the buiilders cracking his head open when stumbling around in the darkness. Off they go to get him patched up while Sara investigates the slab further, and what she discovers will change her forever...

A low budget horror from writer and director Robert Pratten, London Voodoo was no slam bang gorefest, but a more considered look at what might happen during a genuine possession brought about by Voodoo, or so it seems for most of the plot. To this end the shot on video along with the middle class urban location look makes it come across as one of those Sunday night television dramas, only with a bit more swearing, but it manages to build up a fair head of steam once it gets underway. What Sara finds in the cellar is a shrine, complete with two intertwined and mummified bodies dating from quite a while ago, and once the seal is broken, she takes a funny turn and rejects her polite upbringing for a wilder personality U-turn, all capably handled by the actress.

Indeed, it's Stewart's performance that provides the film with much of its conviction as she hits a downward spiral into madness and barking out curses in a foreign language. The au pair is a strange character, though, as you think she will be part of the strange forces at work what with her efforts to drive a wedge between Lincoln and Sarah, but actually she turns out to be simply disturbed in a red herring kind of way. Meanwhile, a local couple and their friend who know their Voodoo try to warn Lincoln that his wife is possessed and intervene, with tragic results. Essentially, London Voodoo is a variation on The Exorcist, with the same level of attention to detail to Voodoo as that film had to Christianity, but the concentration on making the situation as believable as possible - after all, Sara could simply be suffering a nervous breakdown - distinguishes the effort. Music by Steve Severin, yes, the Siouxsie and the Banshees bloke.

[Nucleus's Region 2 DVD has a director's commentary, a making of documentary, an interview with a real Voodoo priest, trailers and more.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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