“Ojuju” – 2015 Fantasia Film Review

One does not want to be too critical of a work from a nation’s emerging cinema, but the Nigerian film “Ojuju” is notable almost entirely due to the distinction of its origins.

Directed by C.J. “Fiery” Obasi in what is now the second-largest film industry in the world based on the number of films produced, “Ojuju” is a noble effort, I suppose, but also a failure.  A zombie is observed slowly stumbling toward the camera. He walks and walks and walks, without really coming all that much closer, and – after far too long – we cut to one or more village residents as they stand and watch…or sit and hide…for what feels like forever. We then return to the zombie, who is still proceeding without much progress.

I generally like my zombies to be slow, but not this slow. The camera rarely moves and nearly every shot is held for far longer than seems possible. Sadly, it doesn’t help that the film is a comedy, as this pacing manages to sap the film of much of its humor (not that watching a large woman groan as she tries to squeeze out a turd is all that humorous anyway). And who on earth begins a comedy with an onscreen title explaining that 70 million Nigerians do not have access to safe, clean drinking water?

“Ojuju” received its Canadian premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival on July 21. The festival runs through August 5. For further information go to fantasiafestival.com.