Cal Jamison, a police psychiatrist, is happily married with a young son, Chris. That is until a freak accident kills his wife. Afterwards, Cal moves to New York with his son. He is called upon in the investigation of a series of murders of young boys, who seem to have been killed in cult rituals. Jamison believes it possibly is Voodoo. While on an outing Chris finds a mysterious shell and weird things start occurring and a cult wants Cal and his son to join them. No one can be trusted!
This is a pretty straightforward horror/thriller/mystery with little left up to the viewer. A few red herrings are thrown in to try to confound us but not very effectual. Throughout, it's a pretty standard affair with little excitement or originality.
It does have a certain attraction to me, probably the actors. The acting is the best part of the film. Everyone does a great job and I actually cared about most of the characters. Martin Sheen is always fun to watch, even in his often lackluster films. Jimmy Smits gives a superb performance here, as a cop who finds out about the cult and suffers at their power. Too bad his role wasn't bigger. Malick Bowens as Palo, the African priest, is very good considering he had very few movie roles under his belt then. The rest of the cast is good as well, a pretty evenly acted performance with several veteran stars.
The atmosphere is mostly restricted to the city so there's very little of it. A few scenes involving sacrifice had a good horror atmosphere to them. Overall, I wish it was shot in a better location. This movie felt like cross between Rosemary's Baby and The Serpent amp; The Rainbow, in setting and plot only. They should've took lessons from The Serpent amp; The Rainbow which was full of a very rich atmosphere and cultural imagery of Haiti.
The SFX were good. It had plenty of blood for the gore fans. A few gory shots were used which gave me the shivers. Animal lovers might find some of their sacrifices, though fake, disturbing here.
The ending is left open a little and kept me guessing, which I loved. Most fans like a clean and shut ending but I like it the exact opposite, within reason.
Overall, a mediocre movie with great cast and a big budget. So much more could've been done with it. The Santeria voodoo religion is shown which is fascinating but I doubt it's very accurate. I've read people complain that it's not accurate and it shows West African religions in a bad light. To those critics I say: PEOPLE IT'S JUST A MOVIE!! Get over it! I studied about African culture in college and I found the true stories fascinating BUT, I also enjoy fictional accounts, such as this, just as fascinating. If I can enjoy and differentiate the two, so can anyone. If you want more accurate info, go watch National Geographic! Albeit, The Serpent amp; The Rainbow did a great job merging fiction with non-fiction, it doesn't mean The Believers is a total waste of film! I recommend this to horror fans - you could do much worse.