Movie News & Reviews

'Voodoo Academy' serves as ultimate test of cinemasochism

The tricky thing in talking about bad movies is that for some ofus--failures, mostly, much like the terrible things we like making funof--bad equals good. So when I say that, until very recently, 2000'sVoodoo Academy was the worst movie I'd ever seen, this couldcreate the confusion that it's nonstop riotous fun.

Nope. Then why on earth recommend it for this month's Big AwfulFriday? How about because I think you're a jerk? I'm sorry, that washurtful. Blame it on the way I had to spend my afternoon.

Thing is, watching Voodoo Academy is a crash course in AdvancedCinemasochism. Once you've got this one under your belt, everythingelse will look brilliant by comparison.

Riley Smith is the new student at Carmichael Bible College, a newschool of such prestige it has six whole students. But rather thanbeing educated in its exciting new religion, headmistress Debra Mayerhas other plans for her class--like using them to raise a voodoo armyof the undead.

Or so the back of its case promises. Brace yourself fordisappointment, as this movie has no zombies, undead, or anythingresembling horror. It doesn't have much of a plot or any rules to itsfoolish voodoo rituals, either. Instead, it's got what really counts:wave after wave of muscly young dudes rubbing their bare chests.

In fact, between the men watching each other bathe, the terribleacting, flimsy premise, and vaguely smutty double entendres, VoodooAcademy is exactly like the first five minutes of a gay pornstretched out to feature length, except without any of that tediousnudity or sex.

This T&A-less T&A is intentional — director David DeCoteau meant for itto subvert typical horror films — but the only thing he's subvertinghere is the crusty old convention that movies are supposed to be inany way fun. Smashing success! I can't possibly imagine anything lessentertaining than shirtless underwear models arguing the finer pointsof made-up theology while their superiors engage in a no-stakes schemethat makes no sense even after they monologue about it 90 secondbefore the anticlimactic ending.

There are dumber, crazier, less competent movies out there, but theremay not be one more relentlessly dull. Voodoo Academy openswith the words "Utter failure" and bears that mission statement outevery step of the way. Don't cheat yourself with the 70-minutecompromised version. Pop in the 90-minute full cut and set sail formisery.

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