Director: Avi Nesher
Date: May 2006
When it first appeared in my Netflix horror section, I admit to being caught up in nostalgia. A new Tales from the Crypt movie had finally surfaced at long last. I was exhilarated by the thought of hearing John Kassir’s quirky one-liners and “killer” observational humor as the enigmatic Crypt Keeper. For so long I have been a fan of the franchise that I could not wait to sink my teeth into this movie.
Absence of Crypt Keeper Leaves Void
My exuberance quickly turned to irritation within the first twenty minutes. Sure, the movie began setting up the genesis for the story that was to come. But there was one major issue that stuck out almost instantly, there was no John Kassir, there was no Crypt Keeper. With that, the remaining eighty-six minutes became ultimately one of the worst movie experiences I’ve ever encountered.
“Ritual” begins with Jennifer “Nobody puts baby in a corner” Grey as Dr. Alice Dodgson, an open-minded oncologist whose experiments with an unapproved drug has cost her patient their life. Her license to practice medicine is immediately revoked almost as quickly as she is summoned to Jamaica to care for the brother of wealthy land-owner Paul Claybourne (Craig Sheffer). What makes the prognosis difficult to determine is the fact that Paul’s brother Wesley Claybourne (Daniel Lapaine) believes himself to be or turning into a zombie.
Dr. Dodgson sets out to prove that science and medicine can trump all the voodoo-hoodo that seems to be rearing its ugly head in Wesley’s direction. Assisting her in her attempts is the beautiful and voluptuous Caro (Kristen Wilson), a sculptress that adds nothing more than intrigue and nudity to the overall story.
Also delegated to the confines of the Jamaican jungles is none other than the brilliantly twisted Tim Curry in one of the most ho-hum roles I’ve ever seen him in. Curry plays root-juice sipping, ganja smoking veterinarian Matthew Hope, a character who ultimately contributes nothing to the story except feel good reprieves from the jumbled mess that is considered plot. It was a travesty to see Curry pushed by the wayside, because if it wasn’t for him this movie really would have nothing of substance.
Creepy Vibe But Mediocre FX
Overall the camera work was the only offering that is indicative of the Tales from the Crypt moniker. The lush landscapes, brooding environment, and creepy vibe give this movie a shot in the arm. The story itself, based loosely off of RKO Pictures “I walked with a Zombie”, was in shambles from scene one. While Jenifer Grey and Kristen Wilson add a nice blend of sex appeal you really have a hard time becoming engaged in their characters. The only redeeming factor I found happened within the opening minutes of the movie as a doctor, under a voodoo spell, melts down into a pile of goo. The effects were top notch here but with the rest of the movie all the make-up effects were pedestrian at best.
A convoluted story, a grossly under-utilized Tim Curry, Jennifer Grey in a voodoo trance of ridiculous proportions and no Crypt Keeper absolutely killed the potential of this movie. Before you decide to watch, I urge you to look away, for you may find yourself in a voodoo trance that will cost an hour and forty-five minutes of your life which you will most assuredly want back.
1/2 Blood drop