Sunday, September 20

My biggest gripe with Venom (2005)

I consider this number a fairly underrated if familiar backwoods (well, bayou) slasher. It initially took a long time to see it myself and upon watching it again last night I still find its central issue being the character of Ray Sawyer. The film's tagline is "He never hurt a soul until the day he died." and there's a certain power in that notion, but the story squanders most hope by making the pre-monstrous Sawyer a pretty frightening dude complete with facial scar, tats, a tow/monster truck, and a grimy pissed off disposition. He's quietly ridiculed by the film's protagonist teens, and even though courageous in his saving of the old voodoo woman, also given to nefarious greed that ultimately seals his fate with the curse.

Taking the tagline back into consideration, it would have been potentially much more powerful if the curse infected a more kindly character. Drop the "town scary guy" crap (which probably sounded great on paper) and cast the tow truck driver as a genuinely nice older man. Maybe have the character have a long history with one of the lead teens. Then once cursed, have the affliction bring locked away memories of violence brought upon him or others (perhaps in 'Nam?) back to the surface. Have that be the fuel for his "venomous" revenge. It's a small change but if done correctly could have pushed the film a little above par than its current "average at best" standing.

Otherwise, it's not bad; it's not great. Credit has to go to the filmmakers for trying to introduce a new slasher icon of sorts (but then again Craven tried to have us do the Shockdance), even if he's still not fleshed out well after the transformation into Mr. Zombo Snake Man. It's also nice to see the most annoying character gorily impaled on a tree and director Gillespie use the 2.35 :1 widescreen framing quite well. This flick seems perfect for a still non-realized DTV sequel series. Check it out if you have nothing better to see, but don't pay nutty prices I'm seeing online for the DVD.

1 comment:

Jayson Kennedy said...

You'll find no argument with me there! you dare tread upon the staircase?

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