World Horror Cinema: Nigeria
By Sam Reeve
My rating: 4/10
I thought it would be a crime to not include a Nollywood movie for World Horror Cinema, even if what they consider to be “horror” may be more of a super cheesy adventure/fantasy for the rest of us.
Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world next to Bollywood (in terms of productivity, not revenue). Yes, that’s right – some country in Africa produces way more movies than the seemingly movie-obsessed America, whose film industry comes in third. They’re typically shot in a week, on very small budgets, and by western standards would be classified as B or C movies.
In Igodo, an innocent man is condemned to death because the tribe’s elders don’t like that he’s such a friendly dude and that all the ladies like him. They bury him alive, but his spirit inhabits the energy of a giant tree that cannot be cut down. The men who condemned him all die strange deaths, their children die strange deaths, and the dead dude gets his revenge from the grave.
The leaders of the tribe round up seven guys to journey into an evil land where they’ll find the knife that can cut down the tree. They run into ghosts, friendly fire, crocodiles and some kind of chupacabra monster that was a guy in a cardboard costume. One by one, the group of seven is whittled down.
The classic “horror” movie Igodo is no different from others in Nollywood. Despite being such a fan favourite, you’ll find the production quality and acting to be deplorable. The story is a bit better, but due to the Nigerian storytelling style, it seems boring and tedious to most Westerners. It’s important to remember that Nigerians are accustomed to oral histories, and it’s been part of their culture since the beginning of time. This explains why most of the movie is told and not shown – a good 80% of it is a bunch of old dudes talking and repeating themselves.
Flaws aside, Igodo is rife with cheesy effects to get you laughing. My favourite was a floating goat in the sky.
Below are both parts of the movie, though with the description above you could skip the first half and save yourself a mostly boring 42 minutes. Igodo is in English, but be warned of the thick African accents.