Director: David Noble
Year of release: 2012
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 50 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Taglines: "In the Deep South outsiders are welcome...to die" and "Southern hospitality has never been so intense".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Whilst out on a drive in Louisiana, friends Erin and Rae miss their turn and end up getting lost in unfamiliar territory. They stop off at a local store to ask for directions but after offending the owner (and somehow forgetting to ask for the directions in the process) they instead spend time shopping around town before entering a voodoo shop the store owner recommended. Things pan out similarly here with the proprietor also taking offense to the girls which results in a curse of sorts being placed upon them centring around something called "Zydeco". Shortly after the pair are chased by a hulking, dreadlocked, skull faced figure. After a car crash Rae disappears leaving Erin to face the shambling menace alone.
Interspersed with these events is footage from urban Chicago. Supposedly happening sometime later we meet a man looking into the disappearance of his missing sister. He comes to discover that his sister was herself in Louisiana at around the same time as Erin and Rae and has also fallen foul of the Zydeco.
Good points: *The music is strong throughout and though the film is very short at about 50 minutes in length the music was the one constant that remained solid all the way through. I liked the two songs near the beginning, the first to establish the rundown town and the second which played while the girls were shopping. The main piece of music however was reserved for the chase and action scenes and this was well done and helped add a bit of excitement.
*The other main positive I can pick out is the appearance of the Zydeco himself. The costume and mask combination looked pretty cool and he had a bit of menace about him as well. Clearly some effort had gone into the look of the monster and though the wellington boots and fake looking chain and hacksaw cheapen things a tad, on the whole he was impressive looking. Many films with a lot of money behind them have not done as good of a job of what they've put together here on most likely a shoestring budget so credit where it's due.
*The chase scene where Erin is running through the woods is nicely shot considering the budget and visually it's the best thing Zydeco has to offer. They use the sequence very early on to help open the film and then again once or twice afterward so the filmmakers must have been happy with it as well. In comparison to most everything else it looks very slick.
Bad Points: *The acting and dialogue is very bad all the way through. It's so bad that together with the weak script it kills immersion and I'd go as far to say it's some of the worst acting I've seen in film. Particularly poor parts that stood out were when Erin is shouting at the fisherman and the part where Donna is talking to Erin when they are both held captive.
*The picture quality is very hit and miss with some outdoor scenes looking sharp but other parts being blurry and unclear. It was a problem on occasion as it made it difficult to make out any detail on newspaper clippings and photographs which were important to the plot. There was a family photograph playing a key role for example but though shown several times it remained out of focus and blurry on each occasion.
The audio wasn't much better as it was also difficult to catch what was being said much of the time. Needless to say there were no subtitle options although in fairness the disc does come with a good selection of extras which is unusual for such an obscure micro budget release.
*There were a number of things that didn't make sense.
1) For starters when the girls want to turn off the road at Alcopoco (or something) they soon realise they've made a mistake and missed the turning. At this point one of them says about Alcopoco "Damn we passed that like thirty minutes ago". More like thirty seconds, we just saw them pass the turn off!
2) Writing wise there's also a really silly part where Erin is being chased by the Zydeco but still decides to stop and take the time to steal food from a random camper.
3) One big problem is that it doesn't seem like the girls do enough to anger either the store owner or the voodoo lady and thus incur the wrath of the Zydeco. The script should have contained more dialogue here with the girls either being more rude/offensive than they were or inadvertently causing offense perhaps by accidentally damaging something. On top of that in the store they didn't even ask for directions which presumably is why they went in there in the first place.
4) Spoiler: It also didn't add up that Rae said the Zydeco was confused and didn't hurt her because part of her weave was taken for the curse as opposed to her real hair. It wouldn't make any difference though would it seeing that she's killed seconds later by the Zydeco anyway plus all the extras like the camper were killed without any of their hair being taken.
5) Why did Erin suspect the store owner/Rawlins was working with the Zydeco just from seeing him wiping his hands on a handkerchief?
6) It could have done with a bit more explanation as to why Donna was captured/targeted as all we get is a brief flashback of her being attacked in a hotel room. On a funny note regarding Donna her brother has a framed photograph of her in his office as if she's his wife or something. It's a heavy handed way of reinforcing the link between them I suppose but kind of comical.
7) Spoiler: I was confused as to what Rawlins was getting at when he said the monster killed his boy and they had to be careful with him from that point on. It seems as if both he and the voodoo lady are together and had a son at one point who was killed by the creature. In the present day however they're protecting and working with the Zydeco but why would they do that if he's responsible for killing their own son? I also didn't understand what they were getting at with the whole medallion thing.
*The story doesn't flow smoothly with the bits in Chicago not taking place in the same time frame as the Louisiana events but still being mixed together making it seem disjointed and confusing. In the extras it says these Chicago scenes were filmed and added later to expand the running time as they only had 40 minutes of footage with just the girls. It means these bits have kind of a tacked on afterthought type feel. Don't get me wrong they do add a bit more of a story so I appreciate their inclusion to some extent but the way they were spliced in could have been handled better. This is a very minor nitpick though compared to everything else.
Verdict: Only just qualifying as a feature film I was hoping this might be both short and sweet, unfortunately it’s just the former. Despite not having much time to screw things up they somehow manage to do so time after time with the bad acting and poorly thought out and too bare bones story forever dragging things down.
At least the killer and the music stand out in a positive way so it isn't all bad news. I'd only recommend it though for if you want a "Z" film in your collection seeing that films beginning with this letter are fairly rare. Otherwise I'd say steer well clear.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1) Donna: Poisoned/choked to death with paint or something similar being forced down her throat. 2) Fisherman: Ankle taken off with hacksaw and then finished with a blow to the face.
3) Camper: Sliced in the stomach with hacksaw so that his guts spilled out.
4) Male from picnic: Arm cut off and then struck with the hacksaw multiple times.
5) Female from picnic: Presumably also killed though it was off camera.
6) Rae: Picked up and strangled.
7) Rawlins: Struck in the back with hacksaw.
8) Mrs Boudreaux: Bludgeoned with baseball bats by Rae's brothers. (This is off camera so it isn't certain if she's actually killed or just badly beaten).
Note: The private investigator implies that Erin returned to the town and died herself but this is never actually shown. In the post credit sequence she actually has the upper-hand over the Mrs Boudreaux character.
Review edited on the 5th of October 2020.