Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -3

Set in the Louisiana bijou, Venom uses Creole and Haitian voodoo to provide an interesting slant on the usual gore and suspense in horror films. Miss Emmie (Deborah Duke), a voodoo priestess, has milked evil spirits from people, much like one would milk a venomous snake. These evil spirits are suspended in voodoo purgatory until they are accidentally released. While Ray (Rick Cramer), a creepy tow-truck driver, performs a good deed for Miss Emmie, these evil spirits take over his body. A group of high-school students — Eden (Agnes Bruckner), Eric (Jonathan Jackson), Rachel (Laura Ramsey), Sean (D.J. Cotrona), Tammy (Bijou Phillips) and the granddaughter of the voodoo priestess (Meagan Good) — are all in the wrong place at the wrong time. After learning of Ray’s transformation, they seek to use voodoo to defeat their evil foe.

Venom is the latest addition to the tireless list of teenage slasher films. There is little time to get attached to most of the youthful characters as they are quickly and violently eliminated. Ray is a man of few words, which must be a dream role for Rick Cramer, who is all action. The gore of dismembered bodies, gaping wounds, deeply slashed flesh, dead corpses hanging from ceilings or crushed under vehicles all produce copious amounts of blood gushing, dripping and pooling around those who meet a cruel and unfortunate fate. Evil is embodied in the form of venomous serpents that inhabit Ray’s body. The eyes of these spirits appear all over his body, watching for ways to inflict their abhorrent aggression. Obscene language and profanity usually accompanies the teenagers’ reactions to the violence they witness or succumb to. As with a venomous snake, moviegoers should put distance between themselves and this film.

Preview Reviewer: Brian Hughes
Distributor: Dimension Films

Crude Language: Many (8) times – mild (hell 2, damn 1); strong (-ss 3, b-tch 2)
Obscene Language: Many (35) times – mild (pee 1); moderate (s-ck 1); strong (f-word 21, s-word 9, BS 1, d-ck 2)
Profanity: Many (12) times – moderate (MG 1, OG 1); strong (GD 2, J 6, JC 1, swear to J 1)
Violence: Many times – mild (car crashes into a bridge rail and hangs off the edge, something crashes through window to grab man, man is hit in the throat with crowbar and blood gushes out, hand-to-hand fighting and struggling between man and woman); moderate (snakes bite man repeatedly, fighting and hitting man in self-defense, stabbing of boy in the head with an ice pick, strangulation of several characters with chains, impaling characters on tree branches and with crowbar, stabbing man in the leg repeatedly, multiple gunshots into a man’s chest and back, man rips side of house off its foundation with a tow truck and crushes girl underneath a car); strong (dead cadavers shown with gashes in neck, gaping holes in torsos and gratuitous blood; man puts finger in gaping chest wound and uses blood to draw a snake on the dead man’s forehead; girl hangs dead from ceiling with blood dripping down to the floor; girl is sandblasted to death; monster-like man with eyes in his skin and scary fanglike teeth; boys leg is stabbed with crowbar; boys arm is ripped off his body, and the blood is used to paint the house window; boy’s face is slashed; man is caught on fire; man slashes girl’s neck; truck crashes into person and dismembers him in the gory process, and guts, blood and snakes come out of the body)
Sexual Intercourse: Few times – mild (guy and girl kissing while swimming in a river)
Nudity: Few times – mild (girl shows a boy her leather bra, girls in two-piece swimwear, males with shirts off)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times – mild (guy/girl flirting)
Drug Abuse: Few times – mild (drinking of beer by adults); moderate (high-school seniors get drunk and drive drunk)
Other: Appropriate use of “thank God” and “God help us,” voodoo ceremonies performed, making of a voodoo doll, explanation of Creole voodoo beliefs, house with voodoo charms throughout it is the only safe place for those whose lives are in danger, girl steals money from a gas-station cash register, girl shoplifts a leather bra
Running Time: 87 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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