I usually maintain that a convincing trailer is enough to sucker me into watching a horror movie. There have been occasions, more than I will ever admit, that an eye catching DVD cover will do the same job (see picture above). I buy these DVDs on impulse and they spend their lives sitting on a shelf collecting dust.
I Am ZoZo was destined for the same fate as so many that came before it but was saved at the last minute by my realisation that I didn’t want to do any work. The choice was I Am ZoZo or sitting at my desk. I may have made the wrong decision.
PLOT: A group of teens stay in a log cabin over Halloween and decide to play with a Ouija board. After chatting to a few spirits they find themselves being terrorised by the evil ZoZo. END PLOT
I Am ZoZo attempts to play out like a thriller rather than follow traditional horror tropes but unfortunately the film is completely devoid of tension. The teens play the Ouija board which is fair enough but rather than closing the session down when ZoZo turns up they spend a considerable amount of time trying to trash talk a spirit. Their actions made very little sense.
Once the Ouija board is put away there were hints that ZoZo was going rock up to terrorise the inhabitants of the cabin. The haunting action was nothing more than a weird “Hollow Man” moment in a bedroom followed by a hidden inhaler. The abrupt ending made the events even more baffling.
The characters were cardboard cut-outs and there is nothing that they did or said that could be considered normal. The actors can’t really be blamed for this as the dialogue was so awful not even the Oscar Elite could save it.
My biggest problem with I Am ZoZo was the handheld camera. I appreciate the budget was non-existent but under the circumstances they should have made the cameraman a character and passed the production off as a college project. By having an incompetent teen “film” the weekend it might have explained the need for the inexplicably grainy lake scenes and the lingering shot of a cooked fish head. These shots served no purpose and I feel like they were included for artistic purposes. They were anything but.
Despite being a horrible film I Am ZoZo made me do something that very few films can – it made me carry out some research. During the closing credits I noticed that Darren Wayne Evans played himself so I ended up googling him and discovered that Evans has a website dedicated to ZoZo and Ouija boards. It was an interesting read but it made the film even more disappointing as it couldn’t even conjure up a decent storyline based on pre-existing mythology.
I Am ZoZo was a bargain bin buy so I really can't complain too much as I got exactly what I paid for. Unfortunately the film has no redeeming features and it wouldn’t have matted if it had a million dollar budget – a bad script is a bad script. I Am ZoZo gets 1/10 but this is an empty gesture as it is the equivalent of giving a fat kid a participation medal for a 100m dash.