When Hurricane Katrina strikes, Voodoo sorceror Duvalier (Leo Smith) uses it to bind Papa Ghede, the Loa (or spirit) of the dead, gaining power and opening the gates of the Land of the Dead. Zombies now roam the countryside, and only those who have gris-gris charms or are spiritually strong escape the spirits of the dead.
Mama Juice (Jessica Angelica), operator of a pirate radio station, broadcasts the news that he who can learn a powerful song can undo Duvalier’s spell , free Papa Ghede, and end the zombie plague. Three Slingers ( magician/musicians) catch the broadcast: Doctor John (Matt Yeager), Shaner (Caleb Shaner), and Reese (Whitney Mixter). These three may be the only ones who can defeat Duvalier and his deadly assistants, The Houngan (Sean-Michael Argo) and The Mambo (Debbie Rochon).
Can they fight their way across zombie-infested lands and overcome the forces of Evil, or are they doomed in their quest?
‘Voodoo Cowboys’ (2010) is the work of writer/director/actor Sean- Michael Argo, and it’s a fine piece of microbudget filmmaking. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but Argo brings plenty to the table – enough that no fan of Indie Horror will go hungry. The concept of Slingers, the magic/music folks, is fairly original, and the duel between Shaner and the Houngan in the forest, guitar vs. harmonica, is pretty cool (the blood does flow). The characters (and actors) are interesting,too. The Slingers actually look like wandering musician/sorceror/gunslingers, not some CW-looking prettyboys and a princess. Mama Juice is reminiscent of the DJ from ‘The Warriors’, but she’s an actual character that narrates the early part of the film, and helps move the plot along…that, and we see all of her and not just her mouth. Smith is formidable as Duvalier, and Argo is sinister as the Houngan. Indie Queen Debbie Rochon turns in a creepy performance as The Mambo, a fast, deadly Voodoo woman who wears a flesh-like rubber mask that unfortunately covers her pretty face, but fortunately amps up the creep factor.
The film is well-shot, and the locations suit the story. The film takes place in ruins, houses and abandoned buildings, and outdoors. In fact, there’s some beautiful scenes shot outside, particularly in the forest, at a river, and thefim’s final shot . Like any good low/micro-budget filmmaker, Argo uses his resources creatively. Some examples of this are the Astral meeting that the characters participate in ( that’s invaded by the Houngan)…it’s done simply, but very effectively, Another standout scene for me was the scene in the spirit-haunted forest, where the characters come upon a mystical tree laden with mirrors…again, relatively simple in execution, but with memorable effect. The background music is a mix of acoustic guitar blues and Metal, which sets the mood well. Effects-wise,there’s a good amount of gore, and the effects for magic battle are well done. The only gripe I have with Voodoo Cowboys is that some Foley work would have improved the hand-to-hand fight scenes, but it’s a monor quibble. Overall, I thought the film was done pretty damn well. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out ‘Voodoo Cowboys’…but have your gris-gris charms handy…