“What black family holds a family reunion in the middle of winter? Do they ski?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Will they barbecue?”
From that point on, I was sold. And shortly after that the white characters died. Written and directed by Robert O’Hara, this ancestral haunting stars Golden Brooks (Girlfriends, remember?), Rochelle Aytes, Keith David, Shawn Michael Howard, and Darrin Dewitt Henson. It’s a typical black family reunion movie…until, of course, the ghost of Chakabazz rises from the slave fields to slay the next generation.
I liked this movie. Think “Cabin in the Woods” but with black people. The elder family members lure their cousins into a remote house. Some of the cousins are there to beg them for money. Others are genuinely there to pay their respects. The stoned and hapless cousins find a drum and a cursed book in the living room. They chant what the book says, unwittingly unleashing the spirit of their slave-ancestor, Chakabazz into the house. However the elders are in on the haunting from the beginning, and actively help the spirit to murder their nieces and nephews. They believe that by sacrificing one generation, they will grant everlasting prosperity to the next. What starts as an innocent family gathering quickly turns into an amusing gore-fest. I don’t usually like slasher films, but this one was unique and reminded me very much of “The Skeleton Key.” The forest scenes are unsettling. Scariest highlights: when the elders write “the flesh is the strength!” on the windows in blood and dismember a person.
All in all I recommend this movie. It’s watchable and has an unconventional premise. I’d give it a B. Great to watch with family! Har har har…