When I think about the elements I want from a high concept comedic drama, especially a parody, there are definitely a few things that to come to mind. Guns, ninjas, Lucha Libre gangsters, cops and criminals, oh yes and zombies. Sounds like a whole bunch of things that are awesome, doesn't it? Well. that’s all included in the absolutely insane '70s grindhouse parody. Voodoo Apocalypse.
Voodoo Apocalypse follows the story of Charlie Vargas, an LA cop who fled to Mexico to become a Lucha Libre wrestler after his partner was killed. However, five years later LA Cop White Chocolate comes to find him and bring him back in order to solve a series of crimes. From there the plot gets a bit sketchy, with a badass priest, sacred swords, kung-fu masters and zombies. It is as crazy as it sounds.
From the very outset, Voodoo Apocalypse uses the gimmick of aping the sleazy '70s movies that were expertly homage with the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse movies a decade ago as well as the Machete movies a few years later. To an extent that is both the charm and the problem with Voodoo Apocalypse. It is framed as a parody and there are jokes aplenty, but the aesthetic gets a little tiresome as the film goes on and it struggles to maintain that running gag all the way through the film. In truth, it would have been perfect in a 30 minute short film, perhaps in the way Kung Fury did so well, albeit in a completely different genre. The acting performances are hugely over-the-top throughout and although it is clear that none of the actors are actually from LA, that is itself an ongoing joke that pays off really well.
Voodoo Apocalypse is a film that shouldn’t work, and it doesn’t. However, given the budget was clearly very small, and the film itself was obviously shot with a specific style in mind that lends itself to that lack of funds, I do feel the filmmakers and the actors have done surprisingly well with a concept that has already seemingly been done to death.
The last thing I'll say about Voodoo Apocalypse, is that while it has many flaws, it is also very fun. In an age when that seems to be an element that is all too lacking, this was a nice throwback and a great opportunity to turn off your brain, ignore the gloominess of 2020 and embrace something utterly batshit crazy.