- Movie Rating -

The Believers (1987)

| June 10, 1987

I don’t really know anything about voodoo, and I have a feeling that the people who made the ridiculous horror movie The Believers don’t either.  Their point of view on the subject seems to have come from other very bad movies featuring voodoo dolls, candle wax, chicken feathers, ritualistic dances and a person with blank eyes putting a curse on you.  Given the negativity of voodoo in the movies you have to wonder why anyone would want to practice it.  It seems less like a religion and more like scare tactics.

In The Believers, Martin Sheen plays a New York police psychiatrist who, as the movie opens, loses his wife in an accident when she steps in a puddle of milk and is electrocuted when she touches the coffee pot.  It’s a scary moment, but it has nothing to do with the rest of the film, which then has Sheen and his son moving to Manhattan where he is called in on a police investigation involving some ritualistic murders.

As the investigation continues, he finds himself attracting the attention of one of those local Caribbean cult whose purpose is the murder children in a sacrifice to gain better health, money and whatever else they think that they can wring out of it.  You’re asked to take this at face value.  What you are not able to ascertain is exactly why a person would and to enter into a cult that is engaged in murdering children.  I grew up with a Baptist upbringing where I was given the comforts of where I prayed and who I prayed to.  I can’t imagine anyone getting comfort form this kind of violence, but maybe I’m not suppose to ask.

Anyway, Sheen has a relationship with a beautiful landlady played by Helen Shaver who quickly falls in with the cult and a police detective investigating has secretly converted.  I really didn’t care about any of it because I knew that what I was seeing was not based on any factual information.  It was based on stereotypes given to Caribbean people and what they believe.  There is such loathing for these people and the tenants of their religion that I am surprised that there wasn’t some sort of protest.  I would like to see a documentary on voodoo and really meet the people who practice it, or just have a voodoo priest sit and watch this movie and school the filmmakers on what its all about.  Do your homework, guys, you’re embarrassing yourselves.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Horror