New On Netflix: The Serpent and the Rainbow

[BoxTitle]The Serpent and the Rainbow[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="949166"/] [NetflixWatch id="949166"/]

Wes Craven‘s first attempt to get a little more “classy” (or at least maybe more multi-cultural?) with his particular brand of horror stars Bill Pullman as an anthropologist who’s sent to Haiti by a pharmaceutical corporation to investigate the phenomenon of what’s become known as the “zombie drug,” a substance that creates the appearance of death but later revives the victim (and leaves them rather confused, to say the least). This dumb American soon gets mixed up with the rather unstable local politics and runs afoul of the captain of the Haitian paramilitary police force (Zakes Mokae, wonderfully sinister), who also happens to be a practitioner of voodoo and black magic. Craven shows some remarkable restraint (and, indeed, class) here, aided by Pullman’s twitchy but nicely underplayed performance — at least until the last act, when the director reminds us that he was the guy who made A Nightmare on Elm Street and delivers an over-the-top dreamscape/freak show that’s frustratingly out of place (and all sorts of goofy). Still, getting there is a pretty spooky ride, hampered only by Pullman’s awkward and unnecessary narrative voice-over (which may be an attempt on Craven’s part to call attention to the film’s literary roots — The Serpent and the Rainbow is loosely based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Wade Davis).

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