Occultic War (MacCollins Chidebe, 2005)
I’m going to go into this review assuming that you have not, in fact, seen Occultic Battle, to which this is the sequel, because (a) if you’re reading this, you’re probably not in Nigeria or Ghana (none of my stats tell me I have ever received a single view from either country) and (b) if you’re not in one of those two countries, you are probably not nearly as immersed in the multi-billion-dollar-per-year Nollywood film industry as I am, because it has made very little mark outside Nigeria and Ghana. Much of the reason for this is that, despite Nollywood films being wildly popular in their own countries, in other places—where there are other film industries to compare against—everyone realizes that pretty much every film that has come out of Nollywood sucks. On the other hand, if you are a connoisseur of cheesy DTV American crap, Turkish exploitation films from the seventies, pinky violence (from Japan) or bomba (from Indonesia), or any other genre of film whose appeal is mainly that it is terrible, then Nollywood is going to be right up your alley. I am not sure I have ever encountered a better example of this conundrum than Occultic War, which takes the usual religious themes of Nollywood and crosses them with gangsta lifestyles and supernatural warfare and comes up with something that even Kirk Cameron, had he been involved in its making, would likely have disowned. Yes, I’m telling you this is even worse than the Omega Code movies.
SPOILER ALERT: the synopsis necessarily contains the major spoiler for the first film. If you are planning on watching them, etc.
Plot: Occultic War (it seems, confusingly, this is has also been released as Occultic Battle 2, while its sequel Occultic War 2 can also be picked up as Occultic Battle 3) picks up just after Occultic Battle‘s ending. Anikwe (Kanayo O. Kanayo) has joined his father’s cult, and all the expected benefits have flowed forth; money, power, women, bad music. Once someone has tasted the fruits of the dissolute, how can his soul be saved? Why, by going after his bokor, of course!
Yes, you have seen this in any number of bad horror films from the West made in the fifties through the seventies. The ending here is just as predictable as it is there, and MacCollins Chidebe ends up making the same mistake so many of those movies did—he takes his subject matter as seriously as cancer. In the fifties, that was mildly acceptable. By the seventies, it was just silly, which is why this sort of thing died out for so long. Had Chidebe given us a few nods towards the old stuff, maybe played a few things for laughs, he might have been able to pull his fat out of the fire here; a quick wink and a nod, something to let us know that MacCollins Chidebe was in on his own joke. Problem is, there is no evidence whatsoever that this is the case. Instead, it is dull, plodding, less than two-thirds the length of the movie that preceded it while somehow managing to feel three times longer, and the movie that preceded it is awful. Man, how do you sit through this without checking your watch every ten minutes? The one good thing about Occultic War is that it should absolutely, positively stop you from planning on sitting through the inevitable Occultic War 2 (aka Occultic Battle 3). ½
The full film, available on Youtube (posted by iRokoTV, so it’s probably there to stay).