September 22, 2005
by Amy Diaz
A voodoo-created evil
zombie picks off the members of a group of Louisiana teens in the swampy
mess of Venom.
When a movie like this
begins with a lot of exposition about the assorted characters (usually
somewhere between six and eight attractive, racially diverse teenagers),
I have to admit it just pisses me off. The over-explanatory backstories
seem like a cruel waste of time, a torturous requirement to listen to
painful and moronic dialogue that we know will never be of any
importance. These teens have one future and it is to die gruesome
deaths, one by one, until only the most bland and unremarkable character
remains. Making us learn their backgrounds is unnecessary and, frankly,
just gets in the way of the killing, which is the only reason anybody
attends such a movie. No amount of backstory can ever help us
distinguish the teens, who are identical in their expressions of painful
stupidity, nor can it ever cause us to care about people who the movie
will take such glee in dispatching.
I will give Venom this,
however: once itís through with the exposition and the scenes that
require a comical amount of ďactingĒ from the assorted characters, it
moves into a phase of uninterrupted slaughter that doesnít bother with
much in the way of motivation or explanation. Eden (Agnes Bruckner) drew
the bland card in this film and leads her ever-dwindling group of far
more entertaining friends through the bayou as the reanimated body of an
already creepy tow-truck-operator named Ray (Rick Cramer) cuts them down
one by one.
And, er, well, thatís
the ball game, folks. Killing, more killing, the occasional truly
hilarious attempt at acting on the part of Bruckner and then back to the
killing. Plotwise, thatís the movie.
Sadly, Venom never
crosses over into so-bad-itís-good category. It has all the elements ó
poorly executed gore, high-school-drama-level acting, this particularly
bizarre wind-chimes-of-evil sound effect that precedes the appearance of
the zombie. But these elements never really coalesce into a unified
group of stupid, working together to become more awful than the sum of
the awful parts.
Ah, well, Halloweenís
not here yet so Iím sure there are plenty of bad horror movies to come.