MOVIE TITLE: My Village People.
RELEASE DATE: 11th of June, 2021.
RUNTIME: 2 Hours 14 Minutes.
DIRECTOR: Niyi Akinmolayan.
CAST: Bovi, Theresa Edem, Sophie Alakija, Rachael Oniga, Ada Ameh, Binta Ayo Mogaji, Venita Akpofure, Nkem Owoh, Zubby Michael, Charles Inojie, Akah Nnani, Amaechi Muonagor, Mimi Onalaja.
It reminds me of the folk stories and graphic descriptions of dominant witchcraft and marine kingdoms that are retold in many African villages. It might bring a little chill and shiver to your spine, just the right amount so you watch without closing your eyes.
A womanizer finds himself amongst a spiritual battle between two supernatural worlds, it is barely shocking that the reason he finds himself in this situation is due to his uncontrollable lust for women. Prior to his return from a trip to his village where he attended his sister’s wedding, he encounters a lady who he attempts to make love to despite his sisters stern warning to not touch or eat from anyone in that hometown because of their association with witchcraft and for the fear of being initiated. He claimed he was untouchable and seriously believed he was immune to the activities of the occult, of course he had no idea what deep mess he had gotten himself into.
As he was about to get into the business with this lady, she demands he confesses love to her seven times. After complying for a while, her persistence begins to irritate him, so he calls it quits and opts to sleep instead believing that he’d embark on his journey back to the city and all the weirdness would be put behind him. Unknowingly, it doesn’t end there. The lady uses her spiritual powers to trace him to the city in order to torment his life and receive his declaration of love. She goes as far as haunting his dreams and his reality as well which in turn causes him to lose his job.
The plot twist begins when we realize that another lady whom he tries to woo with deep proclamations of romantic actions after returning from his village, is also an active member of the occult. A leader and an heir to the marine kingdom as a matter of fact. These two spiritual forces battle to make him a member of theirs as he was believed to be the chosen one. He is tormented for a long time and goes through several lengths to seek a solution to his problem. Unluckily, breaking free is not a one day’s job. He falls into the trap of a false prophet who extorts him for what it is worth and fails to deliver him still. It takes the effort of an African traditionalist to somewhat come to his aid, but as things took a turn for the worse he fled for his dear life. In his troubled state, when all hope seems to be lost, someone we least expect delivers him from the hands of these spiritual forces especially because they are at the top of the hierarchy.
PERFORMANCE AND CASTING
Bovi, who wrote and plays the role of Prince is the lead character in this movie. His dominant role is to deliver the humor in this dark comic movie. He works with other performers like Theresa Edem (Haggai), Sophie Alakija (Ameh), Venita Akpofure (Princess). They continuously instil that subtle chill in our veins as we watch their various performances. Another group of actors I would commend are the three witches: Rachael Oniga, Ada Ameh, Binta Ayo Mogaji. The aura of mystery they wore as they wear their robes convinced me that indeed they might be witches in reality. It is a wonderful performance and I’m truly impressed. Another good performance was delivered by Nkem Owoh, he was able to carry us along as he delivered his dialogues stupendously. Last but not the least, Theresa Edem. From the beginning of the movie till its end she kept the suspense needed and amplified the horror. These actors bring most part of the horror into the movie as Bovi uses comedy to balance it out. All in all, I would give accolades to all the performers on screen.
The lighting of this movie was pretty decent in more scenes than others. There were times where a variation of colored lights was used to show the intensity of the spiritual occurrence ongoing in the movie, with that they were able to set the mood for horror and chills.
The movie was set in the city and of course the village. I mean, it would be contradicting to make a movie about your village people with the absence of a village setting. The village settings helped to create a visual representation of the sort of place witchcraft would dwell. It helped accentuate the point being driven. Realistically, a spiritual attack is more likely to happen in the village than in the city, right?
SOUND AND MUSIC
There were these playbacks of human voices in numerous scenes that brought the spook to the movie, especially the scenes that had appearances of the occult. The echo of these background voices was a smart inclusion just that in some scenes they drowned out the dialogue which made it pretty difficult to hear the characters while in action.
The characters were dressed according to their roles seemingly well. The marine spirits were mostly costumed in flowy dresses probably to represent their origin, the waves of the seas I believe. With the witches it was mostly basic black clothing. There wasn’t anything particularly striking about how the actors were costumed, at least none I noticed.
Niyi Akinmolayan has created a trademark in the filmmaking industry especially after directing some of Nollywood’s blockbusters: Wedding Party 2, Chief Daddy, Prophetess. He does a good job in directing the actors but sadly failed to recognize how scenes went on longer than they ought to. I believe if he had cut out these scenes, the movie might have been better enjoyed. It started really well but began to plummet after the realization that there was uncertainty in where the climax should be placed. Judging from his past works, this movie does not make the top of my list.
After scrutinizing this movie, I believe it deserves a 5.5 out of 10, especially because of the long chase and undefined climaxes. Its enjoyable if you have the time to spare for long comedic horrifying haunts.