Beautiful socialite Madeline White travels to the Old World to be reunited with her fiancée, Neil Bellamy, with plans to marry. However, on her voyage to the island, she meets wealthy plantation owner Gilles Beaumonde who secretly falls in love with her. Upon her arrival, Neil and Madeline seal their plans to marry unaware that Beaumonde already has his own intentions for Madeline. Beaumonde enlists the help of evil voodoo master Severin Devereaux who commands a crew of zombies with nefarious plans of his own. Although this remake adheres to many elements of the 1932 classic, it also differs greatly in its fantasy steam punk approach. This "White Zombie" includes new characters that flesh out the idea of voodoo as a key element of zombie-lore. In addition to characters carried over from the original are Baron Samedi (the "loa" or guardian of cemeteries,) guede (death spirits,) voodoo witches (reminiscent of those in Shakespeare's "Macbeth") and powerful voodoo priestess Mambo Brigitte...
Starring: Scarlet Sheppard, Isaac Eastwood, and Joey Madia
Directed by: Arthur Leo Collins
Written by: Susan Sheppard
Without getting into comparisons to the classic "White Zombie," lets talk about what this version of "White Zombie" does well. The first thing that stands out, and holds true throughout is keeping a great setting. It provides a great background for a story involving voodoo. It's dark, mysterious, and even though this isn't a jump scare kind of movie, it always has the audience wondering what's lurking in the background.
To go with the setting is the terrific costume design. The characters look great, and fit time period they create perfectly. Madeline (Scarlet Sheppard) is stunning, and she shows why she has three men after her. Beaumonde (Joey Madia) and Devereaux (Eric Vasbinder) are dressed perfectly to be the sly, and smooth bad guys they are.
Now the most important part...the story. It starts off trying to get to audience on the couple's side, as they prepare to get married. As the couple prepares, Beaumonde and Devereaux reveal their own plans for Madeline. What makes this story a little different is that there's one bad guy trying to out do another bad guy. Beaumonde thinks Devereaux is working for him, but that’s not the case. On top of that, there's another character that the audience might think is a bad guy, but actually turns out to be pretty helpful. It's not as confusing as it sounds, but keeps the story interesting.
And now for the only real draw back. As the story unfolds there are certain moments where the actors/actresses need to drive home the point, and they struggle to do that. They don't do a bad job, but just need to bring out their characters' emotions a little more. That would get the audience fully involved with the story, the emotional swings, and firmly rooting for the couple.
“White Zombie” starts off in a dark setting that sets a great mood for the rest of the movie. The terrific costume designs add to that setting, as it puts the audience completely in that world. The audience gets not one, but two very interesting bad guys, and plenty of suspense as Madeline’s life hangs in the balance. The only set back for this movie is the acting, but it’s not enough to detour anyone from seeing it.