Voodoo Island is a 1957 horror film directed by Reginald Le Borg that sees Boris Karloff try something a little bit different than that which he usually does. Here he plays Phillip Knight, a man who does not believe in voodoo. In fact, he does not believe in much other than that which he can prove. So when he is hired to go on a trip to an island so that he might disprove that which seems like fakery, he is in for a rude awakening as there are often more things than meet the eye.
Karloff is good, as he usually is, if a bit over the top in this particular role. For this movie it sees the man as a professional debunker and there are times when you notice bits of genius in the man and others where it just seems fairly amateurish. It is a bit of a conundrum to say the least as Karloff has always been dependable on screen and on the whole he does do a good job of it, but it is a bit uneven in the delivery. Still, you cannot fail to find enjoyment in anything that Karloff does and this little grade Z film has its charms, along with some failings.
The good from this film comes mostly from its cast, specifically the aforementioned Karloff, Beverly Tyler who plays Sarah, Elisha Cook Jr. who is the man that welcomes everyone to the island and Jean Engstrom. The women are nice to look at and they do a solid job with the material they are given as does Cook Jr., but other than the scenery and these performances, the film is a bit of a wreck.
For one, it is actually fairly uninteresting. The script and the story are boring and Richard H. Landau who penned it could have done a much better job. The relationships between the cast is written somewhat well as is the basic premise of the film, it was simply the execution and the fact that it seemed like he had run out of ideas while writing it. As such, the film is much too long and has what amounts to a bunch of filler scenes within it to extend the running time. They could have cut a half-hour out of this movie and even then it still might have been too long. The special effects were horrid and even Roger Corman could have come up with something a little better on his worst day. The zombie looked all right, but the man eating plants and those balloon-like tubes in the water could have used a bit more work.
The film is also not the least bit scary. The only thing that frightens the viewer is looking at the clock to see how much longer this film will go on and realizing there is still an hour to go. If you can catch this film and you are a Boris Karloff fan, then give it a go as he is always entertaining even in his absolute worst pictures, but other than that, this movie is not worth the time and effort.