A somewhat interesting idea for a horror movie. Good, nonintrusive sound.
The FX, the acting, the presentation and just about everything else.
Okay, I am starting to think that there is a template for these kinds of horror movies. Get some young actors and actresses. Set them in a small town with a few locations. Try and write the characters with some backstory that connects to something that is vaguely attached to one of the main character’s lives. After about thirty minutes, make this vague part of their life become something that is going to harm them. Have it toy with the main characters (killing off their friends) until about the last thirty minutes of the movie. At this point, the main character will confront their nemesis and, for better or worse, then the movie will end.
Venom tells such a tale. Now, I could try and break down this story showing how it falls into this formula, but I think you get my point and I’ve already given too much away. Needless to say, I think Kevin Williamson (writer of Scream) needs to take some time off, or really just get back to making better movies. I know that he only produced this film, and that working with Jim Gillespie (the director of Venom) is probably worlds different than working with Wes Craven, but as a movie like Cursed proves, everyone can make a stinker.
Venom starts off telling a somewhat interesting tale of voodoo and souls possessing a human being, but that’s about where anything interesting (as far as this movie is concerned) ends.
Voodoo Nightmare; Cast Auditions and Storyboard to Film Comparisons
Voodoo Nightmare: The Making of Venom gives us Kevin Williamson and the other cast members talking about this movie. I knew I was going to be in trouble when Williamson started talking about the backstory of this film, and he mentioned that it came from a video game. The actors talked about the movie, voodoo and what it was like making this film and working with the material.
There are 6 Cast Auditions in total featuring the likes of Rick Cramer (Ray), Laura Ramsey (Rachel) and Bijou Phillips (Tammy), etc. These are interesting simply because they show us the early formation of the character, and then we see them in the film so things make more sense. The sound quality is not that great though.
Lastly, the Storyboard to Film Comparisons show us a scene from the movie and then the storyboards below it. Some of the scenes we get to see are “Crash on Bridge,” “Towing the House” and “The Mausoleum.” These are cool from a technical standpoint but I really don’t know why the DVD’s creators would think non-tech people would want to see this.
Widescreen - 2.35:1 - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. As is evidenced by the front cover of this movie, this film is bathed in a bluish, gray tint. Thankfully, Venom is not one of those quiet horror movies. Overall, the FX don’t look that great, the scenes that are supposed to be suspenseful really aren’t, but I think this has more to do with the “stylization” of the film than anything else. Which is just my point, the film isn’t stylized so much as when you watch this movie you can tell you are seeing a movie. That someone else was also watching this scene before you on a monitor on a set, and agreed that the audience would think it was scary.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound - Spanish Subtitles. There isn’t anything too special about the audio on this DVD, but maybe watching it on a better system I might feel differently? Thankfully, this movie is neither big sounding, nor quiet and is left to reside right in the middle. As a result, I think the audio might be the best part about this film because they haven’t really messed with it. Sure, there are the obligatory scary moments, where the sound jolts the viewers, gets quiet and then the real scares come... but for the most part the sound is just there, left on it’s own to be whatever becomes of it.
The young cast is featured on the bottom part of the cover while the villain of the story takes it’s rightful place in the forefront. As I said, this cover has a bluish, gray tint (with the title in blood red) that seems to speak to the voodoo of it’s Louisiana setting. The back gives us three pictures from the film, critics quotes, a description of the movie, a “Bonus Features”/Technical Specs list and a cast list. This cover, like the film itself, doesn’t make any attempts to be anything that special. As a result, it isn’t.
The back cover of this movie has a quote that says ”Stylish, energetic and darkly amusing.” Now, when I watch a horror movie, I don’t mind things being energetic or darkly amusing, but it’s the stylish thing that really gets me. While I don’t think there is anything too stylized about this film, it is more telegraphed than it is anything else. So many times when you watch a movie like this, you know that right before someone gets killed, they are going to be scared. They think one thing will get them, it proves that it won’t and once they let their guard down they are goners. If somehow, this red herring, bait and switch tactic is stylization than we are big cinematic trouble.
Lastly, Venom is the kind of movie that’s good to screen on home video, but at the same time is quickly forgotten once you pop the disc out of your DVD player.
Venom was released September 16, 2005.