(18) Running Time: 87 mins
Director: John V Soto
Writers: Anthony Egan, John V Soto
Starring: Jane Badler, Michael Dorman, Travis Fimmel
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Interesting this one, and nice to see the old voodoo doll make a return, so to speak. The film opens with a fantastically brutal scene of a man receiving a phone call, being angrily shouted at, and then quite literally having his chest explode. Its not a big explosion, it is more a suttle opening of the chest, with more and more blood being spilled as the man screams and we have absolutely no idea what is happening. Welcome to Needle, a small budget horror with big ideas and a true sense of good old fashioned mystery blended with moments of pure horror brilliance.
Soon after the dark and mysterious death of this man, we move into the present and we’re at college and the usual shitty low budget horror film type rock music kicks in, and I am embarrassed to say I was ready to switch off. Not another crappy horror, that will be two in two days! I decided to stick with it, and good thing too. Whilst the films cast aint the best actor’s in the world, they do give it their best shot, and fair play to them, they manage to stumble through the well thought out story and keep things interesting. A group of friends at college are having a bit of a get together and Marcus Rutherford wants to show off some bizarre ancient box he has found in his room. The box looks like something you would expect to see in a Hellraiser movie, it is dark and mysterious and no one knows what it does. Marcus wants to find out from his teacher if it is worth something, and suddenly things start to go wrong. Marcus has a girl desperate for his attention, and he is a silly boy indeed for ignoring her advances for she is rather fine looking. His brother who he hasn’t seen for over two years since their Dad died has turned up, and now the blasted box has gone missing. Who has taken it, and at what price?
Things now turn really nasty as the holder of the box is able to use it as a kind of voodoo doll object. Insert a photo of your target, then use hot needles on a wax model to inflict nasty injuries, resulting usually in death! The death scenes are very well made, and at times slightly hard to stomach. Witness a girl have her eyes pocked out, or a guy have his arm broke, there are multiple cuts, stabs and slices to witness, and the superior special effects are superbly done. The mystery as to the origins of the box, who is using it and for what reason is all handled with skill and confidence by a director who clearly knows his horror. The cast, for some reason, do become likeable and you do actually start to give a shit about them. The film, whilst having plenty of gory scenes to justify its 18 certificate, may be a little too slow for some, but I was really taken in by it. This is an odd, interesting and at times quite original little horror, and one which deserves to be seen by a much wider audience than it will sadly reach.