Review: Lwa: All Saints’ Eve (2020)

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I said in my review of Sugar Hill that there were few films focused on voodoo. And over 40 years later that’s still true. Which makes it an odd coincidence that only a few days after writing that I stumbled across Lwa: All Saints’ Eve. Written and directed by effects man Rick Prince (Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, Beast of the Water) with additional dialogue from Beast writer Thomas Horton. Is it a suitable offering to the audience? Or should we sacrifice a rooster or two to escape having to watch it?

Monique (Ashley Love-Mills) wakes up from a nightmare about sinister goings-on in the swamp. Despite running Travelling Spirits, a Voodoo tour company she hates the swamps. Unfortunately one of her guides has cancelled. Which means she’s going to have to go out on today’s tour with Eric (Alexander Cruz).

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She should have heeded her nightmare and cancelled the trip. Julia (Mars Melnicoff) and her crew are about to call up an evil lwa, Marinette-Bwa-Chèch (Aleta Myles, The Dead Center). And human sacrifice is on the agenda.

It quickly becomes obvious that despite the New Orleans setting this wasn’t filmed in the bayous. Lwa: All Saints’ Eve was shot in 2015 in Tennessee and looks like it. That really hurts the film’s attempts to establish mood and atmosphere. Those swamps have a distinct look about them that can’t be faked. The filmmakers would have been better off just setting the story there.

It’s too bad that the atmosphere is missing because the rest of Lwa: All Saints’ Eve is quite a bit of fun. For a low budget film, there’s a fairly large cast. Which means plenty of potential victims and chances to get in some effects. And since it was written and directed by an effects guy, you know there will be some good ones.

The transformation of one of Julia’s crew into the tree thing is well done. The creature suit itself is convincing even during day scenes. And while there weren’t as many kills as I thought there would be, there is plenty of practical gore including a throat-cutting and a torn-off arm.

The plot itself is fairly standard. Monique has to face her doubts about her belief in Voodoo. And there’s a lot of running around in the woods before the final confrontation. But at 73 minutes it doesn’t wear out its welcome. And while the final resolution may make some viewers roll their eyes, Lwa: All Saints’ Eve is a good movie for a weekend afternoon.

Lwa: All Saints’ Eve is available to stream. You can find out more on the film’s Facebook page.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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