Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You do, Voodoo: Needle (2010)

Needle (Australia, 2010)
rating: ***
starring: Travis Fimmel, Ben Mendelsohn, Tahyna Tozzi

The first time I've seen this movie, I was turned off; not in the way that I saw the movie and hated its story, but more in the shallow "the-box-art-is-horrible-ignore-it" kind of ignorance.

It wasn't until my blog mate Hudson Lee made a review about this film that I realized I may had another slasher film to enjoy (and an original one as he described, even) so I went on and added this title on my hunt list. (If you're going to click on that link, there, you can tell how long was I hunting this film for) Never judge a book by its cover as they say, so funny pasts aside, let's look at what this movie had in store for us!

A mysterious gold-patterned wooden box ends up in the possession of one ordinary college student named Ben, as a part of his late father's will. Not exactly thrilled about receiving an antique box, Ben have been thinking over whether he should sell the box for some big cash or not that was until the box suddenly disappeared overnight and his friends began dying one by one, apparently at the hands of someone who had stolen it.

It turns out, the box is a tool used for extracting vengeance by creating blood-mixed wax figures wherein the user can imply horrible mutilations to with the use of needles. As the dead count rises, Ben has no choice but to join forces with his forensic photographer brother (who he hadn't seen in years and is bitter about that fact) to find out who's behind the voodoo-killing spree and stop them before it's too late.

Needle is sort of a feature length version of that one scene from the first Child's Play movie where Chucky killed some guy using a voodoo doll; I always thought that kill was cool and original, and this film managed to capture that same creative idea, done in a classic slasher film-murder mystery of sorts, slowing down a bit to try after a couple of killings to focus on the plot. This called for developing characters, mostly with our two main leads.

These scenes were handled quite well though one cannot say that murders here are still the main selling point of the film; it certainly have a supernatural vibe to it, with electrical surges and weird gear noises as omens of impending doom but in the end, whether it's hand held kills or not, the deaths are definitely slasher film worthy as they are imaginative and cringe-worthy brutal without being visually torturous. (As in Torture Porn "in your face" viscera) I also dig the little twist in the end here; it wasn't something new, it's basically your average revenge plot, but it's the way that it was twisted and revealed from our end that I found quite impressive.

Australian horror seems to be a hit-or-miss kind of filmmaking; although we do have recent cult faves like Wolf Creek and The Loved Ones, I do notice that majority of the Ozploitations I've seen had this pacing element, so I can see why some horror fans can be turned off by this. Pacing is definitely an issue for slasher film, as gore hungry audiences like us would like to see a good kill for every ten to fifteen minutes, but fear not, mates, Needle may not have the highest kill count, but it does provide enough mystery and plot development to have us watching to the end. (Plus, it had some 90s retro feel to it, so that's also a plus point for my behalf!)

Not all the way perfect, but promising enough to be a keeper. Worth my year long hunt!

1 male killed via voodoo, holed through the chest
1 male killed via voodoo, repeatedly cut open
1 male killed via voodoo, broken into pieces
1 male killed via voodoo, found with cuts and a mutilated mouth
1 female killed via voodoo , stabbed on the eyes
1 female found with a hole on her head
1 female killed via voodoo, holed though the chest
total: 7

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