Wednesday, 11 July 2007

I Walked With a Zombie (1943)

This review has now been replaced by a much fuller review which can be found here.

I had very high expectations for I Walked With a Zombie - after all it was one of the Val Lewton RKO movies, and it was directed by Jacques Tourneur. And it lived up to expectations. Shadows. Lots of shadows! Superb use of light and shadows is a Tourneur trademark, and this film has some of the best use of shadows you’ll ever see. It’s all very atmospheric, and the tension is built up and maintained wonderfully well. Overall very good acting too, especially from Tom Conway who did some of his best work in the Lewton pictures. There’s very little overt horror, mostly there’s just a sense of unease and a sense of impending doom.

One thing I found interesting was the way voodoo was portrayed. It wasn’t demonised in the way you’d expect in a 1943 movie, which was very pleasing. There are those who say this is the best of the Lewton films, but personally I think this one, Cat People and The Seventh Victim are all so good I wouldn’t like to even try to pick a favourite. And they don’t really feel dated at all, not in the way that most of the Universal horror movies of that period feel dated. Magnificent subtle horror.

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