Director: David Noble
Year of release: 2012
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 50 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "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. 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. While here the voodoo lady also takes offense to the girls (it isn't really explained as to why) and after ripping out some of their hair screams that she has cursed them and "The Zydeco will get you". Shortly after the girls are chased by a hulking, dreadlocked, skull faced figure. After a car crash Rae disappears leaving Erin to be pursued by the shambling menace. Interspersed with these events as they unfold is footage from Chicago which is supposed to be happening sometime later where a brother has hired a private investigator to search for his missing sister. The sister Donna as he comes to find out has also fallen foul of the Zydeco in Louisiana herself at around the same time as Erin and Rae.
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 music though was that which played during 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 who looked pretty cool in costume and menacing to go with it. Clearly some effort had gone into the outfit and though the wellington boots spoils it a bit and the hacksaw and chain looked a bit fake on the whole he was impressive looking. Many films with far bigger budgets have not done anywhere near as good of a job as what they manage to achieve here on a probably tiny budget so they deserve credit for putting together something credible here.
The chase scene where Erin is running through the woods is nicely shot considering it is such a low budget film and visually it is 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.
Bad Points: The acting and dialogue is very bad all the way through. 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. There is a really silly part as well where Erin is being chased by the Zydeco but still decides to stop and take the time to steal food from a random camper.
The picture quality isn't the best on the DVD and is sometimes quite blurry which meant that I couldn't see the newspaper or racetrack clippings in much detail that the brother was looking at or the photograph that Erin noticed on a couple of occasions of Rawlins, Boudreaux and the boy. This photo was shown several times but remained out of focus and blurry everytime. It was also difficult to catch what was being said and I missed a word or two here and there every so often. Needless to say there were no subtitle options. Strange there weren't actually and about the picture quality as elsewhere there are some good extras on the disc which is unusual for a very obscure low budget film.
There were a number of things that didn't make sense. 1) At the start when the girls want to turn off the road at Alcopoco (or something) they soon realise they have 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) As I eluded to before it doesn't seem like the girls do enough to anger either the store owner or the voodoo lady and incur the wrath of the Zydeco. More should have been done to make it look like they inadvertently caused offense, perhaps they could knock over and damage some stock by accident for example. On top of that in the store they didn't even ask for the directions which is why they went in there in the first place. I suppose some of this could be justified by linking Rawlins and co to the Bender family mentioned in the writing at the start in that they used to kill for fun and the sake of it with no justification needed. Later on though Rawlins says something about outsiders causing a ruckus but the girls didn't do that. Speaking of the writing I thought it was odd how it was talking about events in Kansas and Oklahoma instead of Louisiana where the film was set.
3) 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 as opposed to her real hair. Wouldn't make any difference though would it seeing that she is killed seconds later by the Zydeco anyway plus all the extras like the camper were killed without any of their hair being taken.
4) Why did Erin suspect Rawlins was working with the Zydeco just from seeing him wiping his hands on a handkerchief? Maybe if they were bloodstained yes but they were clean?
The story doesn't flow smoothly either 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 just with the girls. It means these bits have kind of a tacked on afterthought type feel.
I think it needed a bit more explanation as to why Donna was captured/targeted as well as all we got was a brief flashback of her being attacked in a hotel room. Speaking of Donna why did her brother have a framed photo of her in his office as if she were his lover?
Spoilers ahead here about the story. I was confused as to what Rawlins was getting at when he said that the monster killed his boy and they had to be careful with him after that. I think with the medallion connection they were trying to put across that the son was the Zydeco who had been reduced to a simpleton by an illness or something but why he said the Zydeco killed his boy I don't know. It was as clear as mud put it that way. At the very end McCarthy implies there is more than one Zydeco which while perhaps intended as a shock revelation falls flat as we only ever saw the one. They probably didn't have the budget to stretch to a second costume or actor for them both to appear on screen at once. Little things indicate there were perhaps two of them though like how Erin mentions he always seems to catch up with her as she runs and how the Zydeco we saw seemed to leave the picnic couple alone but later in the Rawlins flashback they are killed. As we only ever see the one monster though the revelation only adds to the confusion.
Verdict: This is short but I'm afraid not sweet to go along with it. 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 but I'd only recommend buying it if you want a Z film in your collection seeing that films beginning with this letter are fairly rare. Otherwise though I'd say steer 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. 9) Erin?: We don't see her die but McCarthy says the girl who escaped went back and was killed so perhaps the Zydeco caught up with her after she had Boudreaux killed.