A well done Naija style horror film: A review of “My Village People” — Chidinma Okere

Perhaps not the title I’d go for because “Village People” as used in Nigerian colloquialism is simple, easy mischief with no permanent damage but this one Niyi Akinmolayan did is pure juju o. It is juju that left the main character permanently traumatised and harmed precious aquatic and (flying) organisms. 

The film whose setting switches between city scapes and rural darkness had many scenes that made me laugh. Real deep laugh. 

I love the return to old style Nollywood horror. Loved that there was no attempt to science or logic the events away. Something I consider a shortcoming of Kunle Afolayan’s “The Figurine”. “My Village People” is a well done Naija style horror film.

Shaky camera and wonky angles in many scenes notwithstanding, the film makes for an easy, relaxing watch with the added spice of looking over your shoulder.

Relaxing horror.

Sophie Alakija as the hottest baddest girl of the kingdoms was interesting to watch. It would be nice to see her in more movies. Massive eye roll if they had used Susu. 

Loved Zubby Michael as Pastor. I was raised in such a church and the only thing they missed was the “God’s General” and associate pastors that usually accompany Daddy GOs and Women of God.

Daddy GOs never walk alone.

Nkem Owoh shines in his role as a New Age spiritualist and Dr of Underworld Relations.

He came with his signature quick and witty lines, humour and impeccable grammar.

He is always such a joy to watch and while I love me these new school Nollywood movies, it really would be great to watch our films without this dichotomy.

Seeing Nkem Owoh and his calm guardian demeanour brings his role in “Lion Heart” to mind and it is refreshing to see again. His accent is so sweet, I’d love to hear him read a book or narrate a story. I would love to hear him being interviewed. Wait! Really would love to hear him being properly interviewed. I’d love to hear old Nollywood and their proper use of English.

Written by Bovi Ugbomah, My Village People has many recognisable faces yet without the “overdo” that Nollywood star studded films are known for. 

Here, I’d like to add something about Charles Inojie, Amaechi Muonagor and the trio of Rachel Oniga, Ada Ameh and Binta Ayo-Mogaji.

My Village People parrots Afro-spiritual sentiments that Marine Kingdom rules. Unlike Eastern religions that have four elements – fire, water, earth, air – Afro-spirituality has hers divided into two; land and water. Water kingdom thunder bends while Earth kingdom fire bends. Everybody just breathes air. (This is a reference to Avatar: The Last Air Bender.)

Maybe it’s the nostalgia but I loved the film a lot notwithstanding some of the loopholes. For instance,

Some things were not established properly both in the story and in the acting.

  1. Bovi being a womanizer. This was the reason everyone found it hard to believe he didn’t sleep with Haggai yet the two times he related with women, he behaved quite honourably. In the first, he let her be when they were not on the same page and in the second case, he really was serious about her.
  2. His free spirited non-religious/belief personality. For a non-believer, he fell too fast into praying and believing.
  3. Thirdly, his portrayal of Anguish was really not believable.

And some parts of the story begs certain questions. 

How come all of them with their powers didn’t know Prince wasn’t the chosen one? Patriarchy? Or just malfunctioning trado-technology? Or it is that coverage area no reach America where Princess dey.

Also, The marine people had reason to want him, him being royalty and all but why did the witches want him? 

And why did Ame want him for herself? Who betrothed them seeing as he was not the chosen one?

Who was she reporting to if she didn’t know Princess was queen already? Was she running a rogue outfit?

Anyway, like Twitter people will say, fear women especially light skinned ones.

An interesting concept of colourism deeply entrenched in Nigerian socio-spiritual fabric. Growing up in Nigeria, it is pretty common to hear a very light skinned girl being accused of having mammy water affiliations or having a spirit husband.

The movie feeds off this sentiment by casting the marine girls as light skinned and the witches as dark skinned. It supports this with multiple lines where the marine girls refer to the witches as dirty. 

Based off this story angle, I still wonder how they all couldn’t figure that Prince was not the chosen one. I mean, he isn’t light skinned na..

Love is love but the fighting factions were too angry to see it. The sexual tension between Haggai and Anne was so palpable and their fights so boring I just wanted them to kiss already and give us some hot making out.

If they had, NFVCB would have been on their necks but all that back and forth would have just ended in love.

Now, love they don’t have. Man they also don’t have. What’s the gain?


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