Likeable characters can’t help this horror from succumbing to its flaws…
It’s low-budget found-footage horror time again, as a plucky, mildly sci-fi-ish team of investigative journalists/X-Files types, W.H.I.S.T.L.E. (“We Hear In Silence The Lies Everywhere”) go investigating a series of disappearances, all of them men and, for that matter, all of them men of breeding age. Something’s afoot, and when the W.H.I.S.T.L.E. RV breaks down out in the middle of nowhere, our multi-racial team of plucky misfits have, for once, a reasonable excuse for following the creepy old man into the woods, even as he compulsively namedrops The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and even Wrong Turn. Those who’ve looked at the rather excellent poster beforehand, however, will know that he’s merely engaging viewers in a bit of misdirection there, the crafty old bugger, because this isn’t a rural horror at all and, free from the threats of plaid-shirted survivalists, the crew quickly make their way to a plainly crooked brothel, where the real plot, little bit From Dusk Till Dawn and little bit Rosemary’s Baby, can begin.
It’s a shame the W.H.I.S.T.L.E. crew are so bravely devoted to their journalistic duty/oblivious that they walk into what is very blatantly a cover for cult that mashes up voodoo, Jewish mysticism, paganism and Satanism, because they’re individually likeable people, or at least enjoyable characters. In the film’s short running time in manages to delineate six of them clearly, and make you care about each one, even the obnoxious cameraman. It’s found footage, the cameraman’s always obnoxious, so we’re over it by now. Less appealing is the villain of the piece, Mama Voodoo – excuse me, Madame Plu – who does uses the exact same campy intonation and glance-at-the-camera mannerisms you may find familiar from seeing the class show-off in a high school production. She enters the film, which to that point had really pulled you in, and just talks, and talks, and talks, delivering hocus-pocus-y lines that might well have given her a touch of theatrical arch-villainy had they been given to a better performer, and all of the energy of the film is just drained. She could be a sort of vampire, feeding off the life-source of the picture itself. And from there, it’s all haunted-house “boos!” and distorted screams. The very horror-deprived might get a couple of kicks out of this, but it’s strictly genre.
Lilin’s Brood is out today (12th February) on Amazon and ITunes, will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!