The film starts off as most films did during this time period: Two horny teens have their car parked right in front of an abandoned and supposedly haunted house. Just as the boy begins to get some, a noise startles them and ghost slams into their windshield! As the scared teens drive away screaming, a teen about their age comes out of the bushes, laughing. Turns out it was all a joke! He goes to get his prankster friend who was watching from the attic window of the house. The kid enters and finds that his friend is gone. However, in the kitchen, he finds his friend's head in a microwave! As the door to the microwave pops open, the head inside explodes, and the teen stumbles over his friend's decapitated body. When attempting to climb out the window, the sill suddenly closes, chopping him in half.
A short while later, Reverend David Thompson (James Houghton) and Reverend Maier (Stacy Keach, Sr.) are told by Inspector Sturgess (Albert Salmi) about the two deaths at an old house that is church property, and are given the task of cleaning it up for a new family that will move in. The creepy caretaker, Elvira Sharack (Jacquelyn Hyde), wrans the duo that terrible things will happen if they go through with it. Maier is killed in an "accident" at the house, which leads David to do some research on the old place. Then the Leahy family moves in. There's alcoholic father George (Larry Pennell), concerned mother Melinda (Lynn Carlin), pre-teen son Justin (Billy Jayne), and their two daughters, Ann (Heidi Bohay) and Sheryl (Maylo McCaslin). After more deaths and disappearances, David discovers that there's a witch haunting the place, so he, Sturgess, and the family all confront each other at the house, and that's when the $hit really hits the fan.
Let me sum it up right here and now: Superstition is everything I would hope for in a horror movie. It's scary in all the right places, awesome in all the right places, and it ends just how I would want it to. It just seems to hit all the bases in terms of an entertaining flick, and is a home run through and through. There were actually some really great jump scares thrown in, and coming from someone who hates jump scares in most films (usually if the film solely relies on them, like Paranormal Activity 2 or 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street). The film's atmosphere is simply superb, with some dark, creepy scenes inside the house and some great uses of fog. Actually, the atmosphere and mood of the film bears a strong resemblance to that of Italian horror flicks, and before I watched it, I actually thought this was Italian (judging by the trailer and the religious undertones)! The only part of the witch we really see are her hands, which are very scary with the monstrous fingernails and blackened skin.
Possibly the best part is how it manages to have its scares, and also has some of the greatest deaths I have ever seen. One thing that's great about this movie is that everyone is expendable, and even I was shocked at who died in this movie, so I won't tell you who bites it. There's one death where the witch drives a spike through a forehead and into the floor of an attic, which was cool. Of course, there's the two opening deaths where the teen gets chopped in half and the other gets decapitated and his severed head explodes. Then there's the greatest death in the whole movie, where the saw part of a buzz saw detaches itself and burrows into one guy's chest, and driving all the way through his stomach and out the back! It's one of the few films that manages to have some of the best gore, and also manages to be effectively creepy in some scenes (like 1988's Prison).
Superstition was directed by James Roberson, who really hasn't done much elseexcept serving as the cinematographer for countless TV shows. It's a pity, because if someone can turn out something as entertaining as this, you would think he would go on to do more horror flicks that would hopefully be as good as this. I found the acting to be strong from everybody, even if there's a little bit of overacting and a touch of underacting here and there, as well as some poorly written dialogue. The gore effects were handled nicely, and the make-up effects were realistic as well.
This is a great movie in every sense of the word. Even if some of the plot twists I saw from a mile away, you genuinely do not know who will live and who will die. The ending was a perfect way to conclude the movie, bleak as it was. The score really shone through the multiple layers of awesomeness this movie had, especially in the last twenty minutes or so. The trumpets added a special sort of something that spiced up the picture, even if the part of the music sounded like it was directly taken from 1972's Tales from the Crypt. Great mood, gore, scares, acting, cinematography, score; it's all there! Halloween's coming up, and what's more appropriate than a slasher witch-flick that's actually good? Give Superstition a spin this October 31st.
The Verdict: Great fun in all the right ways! Highly recommended!
Don't trust my judgment? Here's four other opinions:
The Bloody Pit of Horror
Cool Ass Cinema