The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.


VenomTitleVenom (2005)
Director: Jim Gillespie
Runtime: 85 minutes
Acting
This is a case where the supporting cast is more interesting then the lead. Agnes Bruckner plays the female lead, Eden Sinclair. Eden starts out sour, and pretty much stays that way the entire film. I don’t think we get to see her smile once throughout the whole film. This makes for a boring lead. She is fine in her role, but I would loved if she was able to experience some more highs instead of one long low the entire movie. The supporting cast is great, though.

Story & Script
The town’s oddball, Ray, saves a woman from a car that hanging off a bridge. The woman asks about her suitcase, which is in the backseat of the car. Ray goes in to grab it, but it opens up and snakes attack Ray, sending the car into the lake below, presumably killing him. Instead, we discover that Ray has been possessed by the evil souls that this woman has “milked” in the past, and he is now a killing machine. It plays like a slasher film, which I love, but the problem here is motivation. Why is the killer going after these teens is unclear. It makes sense to go after one – the granddaughter of the woman Ray saves from the car – because of bloodline, but otherwise, it’s unclear why he is going after this particular set of people. They were not mean to him when he was alive as Ray (in fact, they are quite nice to him even though he is a creepy asshole). The only motivation I can find is that they witnessed him going after the granddaughter, so now they must die too? I guess that’s a good a reason as any.

Direction
Jim Gillespie should be a bigger household name. Venom is a really solid horror film, Eye See You isn’t terrible, and I Know What You Did Last Summer was a personal favorite of mine after Scream reinvented the slasher genre in the mid-’90s. I’m genuinely surprised that this man hasn’t done more. It looks like he has another film coming out this year, a decade after his last film, Venom. I’ll definitely check it out because I enjoy his style. Here, he uses a quick cut editing technique with the antagonist, which Ashe complained about, but I actually liked. It set that character apart from the rest of the pack in yet another way. Gillespie uses this deep south setting really well, and it helps set the atmosphere right from the start.

Intangibles
The special effects in this are excellent. There is a part where a character gets their arm ripped off, and the resulting stump is brutal. Once Ray turns into the evil creature, he looks completely different, and quite menacing. There are also some stunts that are really fun to watch. Also, I’ve never seen the bad guy literally rip a house apart before, and that was bad ass.

Rewatchability
I’ve seen it, and I don’t think I’ll need to watch it again, even though it’s a solid horror outing.

The Verdict
Venom is a good horror flick. Though I expected this to be more of a creature feature than it was, I was happy to discover that it plays out like a slasher film with a paranormal, voodoo twist. Southern horror can feel like a genre all itself, and Venom is a great example of why.

three_stars
Buy-it-Now-From-Amazon

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.