There are a ton of horror movies released every year, so when one is released that’s original, clever, and truly horrifying it deserves to be celebrated. That’s why we are here to talk about Spell (2020), a brilliantly dark and twisted movie that you need to see!
Omari Hardwick (“Power”) stars as Marquis T. Woods, a man who escaped his abusive father and the Kentucky mountains to become a big city lawyer with a beautiful family. When he gets the call that his father has died he and his family board his Cessna plane and head to the place he’s tried so hard to forget. Unfortunately, a terrible storm hits and the plane crashes. When he wakes up in the home of a strange couple he finds himself a prisoner and has no clue as to what happened to his family. He soon realizes that his rescuer (Loretta Devine) is skilled in the ways of Hoodoo and that his life is in serious danger.
We don’t see many films that feature Hoodoo or Root Magic these and honestly, the magic spooks the hell out of me. I am from the South after all. I grew up hearing about it. In fact, my great-grandmother was known for being a practitioner.
If you don’t know much about Hoodoo, also known as “root magic”, let me give you a quick lesson. It was born in the South during slavery out of a mixture of African practices, Native American practices, and Christian folk traditions. It uses a combination of botanicals, sacrifice, spells, and Boogitys (similar to Voodoo dolls).
Director Mark Tonderai and writer Kurt Wimmer did a fantastic job bringing this dark, twisted tale to life, creating a frightening flick that will stick with you for days.
Hardwick is so convincing. You forget for a second that it’s a movie and you really believe he’s in pain and scared for his life. He emotes so many emotions, pain, fear, worry, rage and he convinces you that all of this is real without having to say a word. He left me impressed.
As for Loretta Devine, well, she’s Loretta Devine, you always expect perfection when you see her in a movie and she doesn’t disappoint in Spell. She delivers a kind of southern charm that really makes Eloise special. And when she shows her dark side it catches you off guard giving more of an impact. Be sure to check out our interview with Loretta Devine!
John Beasley, who plays Devine’s husband Earl is also great as always. Every actor really nails their roles including Lorraine Burroughs, Tumisho Masha, Ri-Karlo Handy, Hannah Gonera, Kalifa Burton, and Steve Mululu.
The special effects by Flip Bester, Tyrell Kemlo, and Julian Koberman are on point! The FX were subtle the majority of the time but are oh so effective. And when they go big, damn.
Recently, we have been getting more African American stories in the horror genre, like Spell, Get Out, Us, and “Lovecraft Country,” and that’s a beautiful thing. There are so many new stories that can be told from new perspectives and that’s something every genre desperately needs. The movie explores so many painful, real events, from religious practices of people we rarely hear about, to subjects like slavery, poverty, abuse, and desperation. We need those topics explored, to have a light shone on them.
There are a ton of hard, disturbing scenes we as viewers have to get through in the movie, scenes that will leave you in shock and have you peeking through your fingers as you cover your eyes. There’s one scene that involves a railroad spike the made me cringe so hard that it physically hurt. If you can get through Spell without feeling something, fear, horror, disgust, shock, something, anything, then there is something seriously wrong with you.
When the trailer for Spell was released earlier this month it went straight to the top of my “must-see” list. I had my fingers crossed that it would be awesome and I was not disappointed. It’s spooky as hell! There’s only one score I can I give it, one it clearly earns, a 5 out 5. It brings a whole new meaning to the saying “black girl magic.” It’s a movie that deserves to be seen. Luckily, you don’t have to wait long, Spell arrives on Video-On-Demand and Digital just in time for Halloween on October 30th, from Paramount Home Entertainment.