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Parents' Guide to


By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Gory horror has unclear ideas about Blackness, spirituality.

Movie R 2020 91 minutes
Spell Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 18+

Notable unlisted sexuality present. See body for details.

Generally interesting. Very dark. Definitely gory. Just want to point out, since it was missing from the review, that there is a severed .. male genetalia .. shown in one scene; hence my 18+ rating. That wasn't mentioned elsewhere on here or in other guides I have seen. Wouldn't have watched if I had known that.
age 18+

Recommended to watch

Great come back after they went up to the sky to visit another land. Climax of thriller and suspense throughout the come back. Ending is well too. Gruesome and awesome for adults.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (5 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Spell seems confused about what it wants to say about Blackness, if it wants to say anything at all. The movie is directed by Mark Tonderai, who's Black, and written by Kurt Wimmer, who's White. Writers from any racial background can write stories with characters of color, but it's important for writers to do research and have empathy for the culture they're representing. Yes, the film is scary and entertaining, with Devine playing spectacularly against type as a villain. And it tries to make commentary on self-acceptance/accepting your past, since Marquis has to come to terms with his turbulent childhood with his voodoo-obsessed father in order to defeat Eloise and her disciples. But beyond the entertainment, head-scratching moments reign.

For instance, Veora gets more offended by Tydon using the term "country ass" to make fun of a Black teenager than when he uses the "N" word to describe the same person. Also, the film's "good guys" are lighter skinned than a majority of the "bad guys," who are darker skinned, evoking Hollywood's history of colorism. And voodoo is flattened into a base-level demonic religion instead of being shown as a misunderstood African spiritual practice. Here, voodoo is both stereotyped and imbued with supernatural powers, such as causing a cat's tongue to give a woman her speaking ability back and a goat's eyes being used for a blind man. Ultimately, the film seems like it uses the trappings of Black culture simply because that's now popular in horror, not because the film's writer had something poignant to say about Blackness in America.

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