"Reel Res: ‘Spell’ is an unnerving mash-up of several movie plotlines" by: Jessica Shepard

   When I first saw the trailer for “Spell” I was over-eager and excited to see it all play out on the big screen.
   I mean, come on, it debuts at theaters just before Halloween with the promise of Hoodoo/Voodoo in Appalachian Kentucky with a seemingly sweet old lady?
   Plus, I rather liked the idea of watching a predominantly Black cast – something that’s been fairly rare in horror/thriller movies for years.
   The storyline takes liberties and borrows themes from other gritty backwoods scare fests like “Misery,” “The Skeleton Key,” and “The Hills Have eyes” – while relying on creaky floorboards and jump scares.
   If you’re expecting true terror rather than just unsettling creepiness, you’ll be a little disappointed.
   It’s definitely in the B-movie category, but the ending is so much more satisfying than I was hoping for.
   The movie stars Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, Lorraine Burroughs, Hannah Gonera, Kalifa Burton, John Beasley, Tumisho Masha, and Steve Mululu.
   Spell is rated R for violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language and is just over 90 minutes long.
   Thriving businessman Marquis Wood (Hardwick) is living his best life with his family in luxury that’s stark contrast to how he paints his early childhood life in Kentucky.
   Learning that his cruel father has passed away, he decides to take his family - his supportive wife Veora (Burroughs) and two teenaged kids - on a trip to attend his dad’s funeral.
   While flying to his father’s funeral, an intense storm causes Marquis to lose control of the plane carrying himself and his family.
   There are several shaky scenes with screams, thunder, and enough lightning for me to give an epilepsy warning before the whole screen goes black.
   Marquis soon awakens wounded, alone, and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Devine) attic with a severely injured foot and fevered delirium.
   Eloise lives with her husband Earl (Beasley) and a burly mute assistant named Lewis (Mululu), though no familial designation is made.
   Eloise claims she can nurse him back to health with a Boogity, a hoodoo figure she’s made from his blood, hair, and skin.
   We’re even treated to a scene of her putting it all together with dirt, nails, and thread – almost like a labor of love.
   Well, more like for control since she explains to him that whatever happens to the Boogity happens to him and his healing is dependent on this little effigy.
   Eloise thwarts Marquis’ wish to get an ambulance and tells him he is the only survivor from the crash – which nearly breaks Marquis’ spirit.
   It also leads to growing distrust in Eloise as he tries several times to find an escape route out of the home and succeeds in making it to the plane wreckage but no signs of his family remain.
   Unable to call for help after being caught in the woods, Marquis desperately tries to break free from Eloise’s dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
   All in all, I’d give this film a chance, but if you’re not an avid horror fan, you certainly can wait until it’s out to rent, buy or stream.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet