Voodoo Apocalypse (or Apocalipsis Voodoo) is, uhm… well. It’s a thing. Do you like B-Movies? Specifically, do you like grindhouse B-movies that look and feel like they were shot for a budget of about four hundred bucks? Did you like Wolfcop, The Velocipastor or Hobo With a Shotgun? Then boy, do I have a movie for you!
Directed by Vasni Ramos, and written by José J. Ramallo, Sergio G. Ramos and Vasni Ramos, this is a story of cops, luchadores, kung-fu masters, magical swords and yes, voodoo zombies. The plot is somewhat confusing, so bear with me here. We open with a detective called White Chocolate (played by Sergio G. Ramos) who has gone to Mexico to find another cop called Charlie Vargas (played by José J. Ramallo), who has been missing ever since the death of his partner in a bar shootout. Charlie needs to come back to Los Angeles from his self-imposed exile, as the man who killed his partner, a drug trafficker called Jimmy Vanilla (Victor Hubara), has been spotted in the city and it’s time for some righteous payback.
So far, so 1970s by the numbers buddy cop setup. But it turns out that, DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN… Jimmy is now Papa Voodoo and he’s responsible for a tape that turns the listener into a white-faced, bloodthirtsy zombie. That in itself is kind of a nifty idea that a handful of other films such as Pontypool and Cell have toyed with. An aural virus.
Speaking of sound, the soundtrack for this film is great fun. Every character is introduced with a funky little musical sting, and there’s some really great music all throughout the film, so hats off to composer Sara Lopez who did the “serious” orchestral score while the rest of the music is provided by Sergio Gerson, Carlos Díaz, and Kike Perdomo, and their funky contributions fit the film perfectly.
The cast are all totally committed to making this feel like a genuine grindhouse exploitation film. Scenery is chewed, terrible dialogue is delivered as if their lives depended on it, faces are slapped, heads are exploded, and the first few minutes promise a hell of a rollercoaster ride…. but it just doesn’t quite deliver on its initial promise. There’s surprisingly little blood and gore on display for an exploitation flick and what there is… well… it’s CGI. I needed more head explosions, more intestines decorating the walls – just MORE.
The comedy and the grindhouse trappings can’t quite disguise the fact that this story could easily have been wrapped up in under an hour, and by the end it verges on outstaying its welcome. This probably isn’t a movie that’s going to demand a lot of repeat viewing, there’s no deep hidden meaning to be found here – however there is still a whole lot to enjoy. There’s the opening bar fight, there’s Charlie Vargas getting repeatedly slapped in the face, which never gets old, there’s a hilarious kung-fu training montage, a Taxi Driver homage and some of the most fabulous “chosen warrior” type outfits you’ve ever seen.
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This is the first full length film from Vasni Ramos and it shows a really solid understanding of the grindhouse genre. It would be really interesting to see what he could do with a bit more money and time. So crack out the icy-cold cervezas and let this movie assault your eyeballs. It’s worth a watch, and if anyone asks, tell them Father McKardigan sent you.
Voodoo Apocalypse is out on Digital Download on 9th November.