Movie Review: “I Am Zozo” Is So Bad Mystery Science Theater 3000 Couldn’t Save It

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Review by James McDonald

“I Am ZoZo” is a psychological thriller about five young people who play with a Ouija board on Halloween and attract the attention of a malevolent demon.

“I am Zozo” is a psychological thriller about five young people who play with a Ouija board on Halloween that attracts the attention of a malevolent demon. The film is supposedly based on real-life experiences with an ancient spirit called ZOZO that attaches itself to people exclusively through Ouija boards. As the movie begins, our heroes, a group of five friends, decide to spend Halloween weekend on an offshore island where one of the friend’s family has a holiday home. When they get there, they settle in and when nighttime comes, they decide to play with a Ouija board. As the night unfolds, they encounter different spirits throughout. The last one they encounter is a sinister specter who calls himself ZOZO.

It tells them that it wants to kill them all at which point they decide to put the Ouija board away and go to bed. The next day, the friends go fishing and drink and eat and have lots of fun until nighttime, when they decide to take the Ouija board out again and all hell breaks loose. One thing I have to give credit to director Scott Di Lalla for, is the fact that he shot the entire movie on Super 8mm film. When I started making movies at age 12, I used the exact same format and it was a great starting point for me as an independent filmmaker. In using it, you get a great understanding of how to focus and light your film and unlike video, you have to get the negatives processed, which can sometimes take a few weeks.

A lot of indie filmmakers today shoot their movies on digital and in post-production, if they want the desired effect of film, they can add it in afterwards. However, this one acclamation aside, “I am Zozo” was an absolutely terrible movie. The acting by the five actors involved was horrendous. Mangled sock puppets would have been more believable and that is saying something. On the first night when they are using the Ouija board, Mel, the instigator, starts speaking to different spirits, one by one and this seems to go on forever. There is no build-up whatsoever to the expectant ZOZO, instead, she speaks to one spirit, asks it some questions, then that spirit decides to disappear.

And then the next spirit comes along and she asks the exact same questions and then it too disappears and this repeats itself, over and over until we finally get to anti-climactic ZOZO. I’m sure after these spirits realized what a horrible movie this was, they decided they didn’t want to have their names dragged through the dirt and vanished, something I wished I could have done. This movie claims to be a supernatural psychological thriller yet nothing supernatural or psychological happens. One character retreats to her bedroom the first night and then starts screaming out loud and thrashing around on the bed, I’m guessing to give the impression that she was being possessed by ZOZO but of course, this being a supposed scary movie and considering that all the bedrooms are within arm’s reach of each other, nobody hears a thing.

The next morning, after having recounted her horrifying ordeal to her friend, they decide to go outside and throw apple seeds into the air and joyously dance on the deck together. At the end of the movie, as the credits begin to roll, it tells us that after the death of one of the characters, allegedly from having being possessed by ZOZO, another friend, unable to handle the guilt, took their own life one year later. Yeah, I know the feeling.

In stores November 19th

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James McDonald

Film/Theater Critic & Interviewer at Red Carpet Crash
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience in the film industry as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
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