Needle Review

Movie: Needle
By: Maniac E
Date: January 23, 2012

Ten Suspects. Six Clues. One Killer...

John V. Soto’s Needle is an enjoyable mystery/thriller, I thought it held its own throughout. The film isn’t full of gore like many horror films today, so in that respect it may put people off looking for a gore fest. While watching Needle, it evoked a very nineties feel, it felt like a slasher film of times gone by, but, it does offer something different in a mold we have seen time and time again.

In the film our protagonist Ben Rutherford (Michael Dorman) gets a strange box shaped device from his late father’s estate. That night he gets drunk with his friends and wakes up to discover that the box is missing. Soon after his friends start dying in a mysterious fashion and it’s revealed that somebody is using the box to create wax voodoo dolls to dispatch the college kids. Marcus and his estranged brother Ben (Travis Fimmel) go on a desperate search for the box and the killer, hoping to find both before more of their friends are murdered.

needle pic 1

The use of voodoo dolls in a “civilized” setting is very original. While voodoo has been used many times as a plot device in horror films, it’s usually done in conjunction with a tribal setting. The only other slasher that I can remember that used voodoo dolls in a modern setting was a brief scene in the original Child’s Play. I also really liked how it set up the who-done-it mystery. Instead of having a slasher in a mask stalking the kids we get a pair of black gloves in close shots, grinding the gears of the box and then enacting punishment on the voodoo dolls. The use of black gloves is an awesome call back to the Italian giallo films of the 70s and 80s. Those films employed similar mystery plot lines and I like the flick’s homages to that genre. I also liked that the film goes out of its way to hide the identity of the killer. While there are multiple clues that will lead sharp minds to identify him/her pretty quickly, we also get some red herrings that will keep most people off the scent until the big reveal.

needle pic 2

The possible kill scenes when using of death by voodoo are almost infinite and I was happy to see that each one was different from the last. The only issue I had with the deaths is that there simply isn’t enough of them. When the killer is revealed it makes sense that they would only want to stick to the main group of friends but I could have used some extra kills. The gorehounds will also be disappointed in the relatively clean kills. We do get one scene of over the top gore but other than that most of the kills are fairly simple. I actually dug this approach, as I didn’t feel that the film really called for a ton of gore. This isn’t Hatchet folks. Another thing I dug about these scenes is the editing style. In most modern horror flicks, the editing is incredibly quick and distracting for no discernible purpose. Here, the editing is still quick but it serves a purpose as it’s cutting in between the killer cutting the voodoo doll and the victim experiencing the results.

needle pic 3

In many cases the cuts to the voodoo doll enhance the kills. For example, if we had just stayed on the victim during one of the deaths we would simply see a bunch of cuts randomly appearing on his skin. Cutting back to the voodoo doll though we get the cringe inducing moment of a white hot needle being pressed into the doll and then immediately see the result on the victim himself. Also, cutting to the voodoo dolls in this manner is an ingenious way to work around a small budget as it’s far cheaper to punish a wax figure than it is to create gore effects.

needle pic 4

Overall, I really dug Needle. It’s not a perfect film but it’s a fun little slasher flick that I can see gaining a large audience on video. Hopefully it makes enough to warrant a sequel with a bigger budget as the further possibilities of a voodoo slasher fill my sick little mind with glee.



Image quality

Visuals are pretty decent good clear images. Focus points seem a bit of from time to time. Everything is in 1080P and MPEG4 codec. 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen video.


Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound in (Aussie) English is equally sturdy. The mix is right, never pushing any element unreasonably far beyond others, and dialog is discernible, if not always easily understood. (In truth, these accents are really pretty easy to get.) Active dimensionality seems to be employed most during the thick parts, while remaining more sedate in the quiet bits.


Nothing here


The movie was better than I thought, certainly after reading most of the reviews on the net. This disc in the end is nothing really special. But if you like movies with some twists and turns and look beyond the somewhat flaws, it ends up being a pretty good movie.

E1 Entertainment






John V. Soto






Ben Mendelsohn, Tahyna Tozzi, Travis Fimmel