ROLE:  Swedish company employee Magnus

GENRE: Horror


PREMIERED:  March 11, 2004


Lincoln and Sarah Mathers have just moved with their toddler daughter from New York into a spacious London home, drawn here by transfer of his high-pressure corporate job. Sarah's ambivalence about the uprooting suddenly changes upon discovery of two entwined skeletons hidden beneath the cellar floorboards. Reason for Sarah’s turnaround — and increasingly bizarre behavior — turns out to be her possession by the spirit of an African warrior-priestess killed here long ago.

Program Details


Doug Cockle - Lincoln Mathers
Sara Steward - Sarah Mathers
Grace Sprott - Beth Mathers
Vonda Barnes - Kelly
Trisha Mortimer - Fiona
Sven-Bertil Taube - Lars
Michael Nyqvist - Magnus

* * * * *

Directed by Richard Pratten
Written by Richard Pratten
Cinematography by Patrick Jackson
Music by Steven Severin

* * * * *

99 minutes



Whilst Rob Pratten has to be commended for making a truly independent British horror film, the end result, like most British independent horror films is a mixed bag in which the filmmaker's undeniable talent and ambition is compromised by a lack of resources and self restraint. Lifting several cliched ideas from The Omen and Amityville Horror, London Voodoo tells the tale of an unlikely American couple who move to London in an attempt to salvage their relationship, but whose fortunes take a turn for the worse when they discover that their new home is haunted by a voodoo spirit.

Whilst you can see the commercial logic in writing American characters into the lead roles, the unknown, ex-pat actors that Pratten cast both deliver uncharismatic leaden performances and their characters are written in such a heavy handed, unsympathetic way that unfortunately this debut effort falls at the first hurdle.

Once you get over this initial disappointment, there are moments and contributions that suggest what could have been, particularly Trisha Mortimer as the 'love-keeper' who manages to breath life into Pratten's inconsistent dialogue and Voda Barnes, who although over-written is suitably sexy as the au-pair. Comic relief is provided by the two decorators and the supporting Afro-Carribean cast add flavor to otherwise dull proceedings.

Also worthy of note are the businessmen in the office scenes, which demonstrate that when Pratten is not trying to make a load of spooky stuff, he's actually quite a good writer/director. Shot hand held on 16mm with basic lighting, the film has the look of a television special. The locations are functional as opposed to aesthetic and the synthesized score home-spun and cliched. The best production values can be found in the voodoo paraphanalia which suggest authenticity and a great deal of research.

At 98 minutes, the film is too long and would benefit tremendously from a ten minute trim, particularly the scenes where various voodoo practitioners stop the narrative dead to deliver pages of expository mumbo jumbo in an attempt to give some kind of spiritual context to the proceedings.