DVD Review: 'Voodoo Possession', Starring Danny Trejo

Horror is a hard genre to pull off. Some of them are your run-of-the-mill types, other attempt to give us some kind of plot, others are just there to frustrate or scare. More often than not, it's hard to strike a balance between all these things to bring the audience an interesting experience that isn't only about the scares. Voodoo Possession tries to be both a scary horror and a more layered psychological film but has a lot of trouble trying to keep up with itself and its ambition to do far too much with too little.

When Aiden (Ryan Caltagirone) was just a little boy, he watched his mother kill herself. He hasn't ever quite gotten over that, but he's managed to move on (with the help of some great medication). Aiden's brother Cody (David Thomas Jenkins) is a doctor working in an insane asylum down in Haiti and is studying what kind of effects voodoo has on mental patients with the help of his assistant Kross (Danny Trejo). 

After Cody disappears without a trace, Aiden and Bree (Kerry Knuppe), a news reporter looking for her big break and Aiden's ex-girlfriend, jet set to Haiti to find Cody. Through the help of a voodoo priest and some crazy experiences with voodoo, they find out that Cody's been taken into the spirit world by the tormentor, a monster who Aiden believes has been after his family for years. 

Voodoo Possession tries very hard at playing the psychological horror story and gives us some semblance of what might have been a more evolved plot if done differently, but there's too much going on in a cramped amount of time that it doesn't play out very well onscreen. The entire movie takes place in Haiti, and it's pretty obvious that the film takes place there only so all the voodoo stuff can be included. 

Director Walter Boholst, with a little more time and a bigger budget, might have had something intriguing on his hands. Some of the scenes set in the spiritual world are cool-looking and a little creepy. But that is overshadowed by the underwhelming, occasionally cringe-worthy and cliche dialogue. Boholst's intentions to try and interlace a layered human story with a ton of voodoo don't really work together and somehow end up taking the audience out of the human story the film so heavily wants to focus on to drive its plot. 

The acting is subpar, though the actors all do try really hard in their attempt to bring real emotion to their characters and their situation. Much to what will be everyone's chagrin, Danny Trejo (Machete Kills), who's the only recognizable actor in the film,  is only in the movie for a brief period of time. And unfortunately his role isn't big enough for him to really drive any part of the movie. 

Boholst thinks big, but his execution is very rough around the edges. He has interesting ideas about guilt being a drive force behind our lives and how it ultimately affects us, but it might have been more intriguing minus all the attempted scares, confusing voodoo twists and turns, and exposition that fill the second act. The film just tries to include a lot and do too much with a small budget and it winds up feeling like an overflowing cup of water that hasn't quenched your thirst.