With its small town setting, teen pranks, couple making out and isolated house, Superstition’s opening may not offer anything particularly new, but there is something interesting about it. For some reason the pacing is decidedly slow, the sequence as a whole taking up over ten minutes of screen time. As a result we’re forced to question James W. Roberson’s motives – does he have a huge amount of faith in his talents, or is he simply naïve? Certainly, he’s hardly producing a tour de force, just a couple of effective shocks and, for genre fans, an exploding head in a phantom microwave.
As such it seems best to label Roberson’s efforts as being the latter, but as we progress through Superstition, even this may prove to be too kind. Indeed, even such fundamentals as the plotting are handled with a certain ineptitude. Via various nods to The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist we witness the deaths of those that dare enter the aforementioned house. First it’s the pair of teens from the opening sequence, then some workmen and a priest, before moving onto the alcoholic minister and his family who decide to move in. Yet there’s no sense of development here, no suspense and no investigation into the events. At its best, Superstition simply gets in the death scenes at the appropriate interval.
Indeed, we are soon in a position where we eagerly await the next murder as it appears to be the only place in which we may find something akin to invention. Certainly, the characters are all two-dimensional at best (note that we don’t care about a single one as they get systematically dispatched), whilst anyone aware of the film’s alternative title, The Witch, will hardly find any mystery. And yet Roberson even runs of ideas in this department. Following the microwave scene and a runaway circular saw early on, there’s little to keep the audience interested. It’s as though all the efforts were put into grabbing them in the first place, that none remain to maintain the interest. Indeed, the finale is a simple backlighting-and-crucifix affair with the basest level of effectiveness. Furthermore, than slow pace with which Roberson opened the film remains throughout. Admittedly, it may result in the odd jolt owing to its soporific effects, but then this can hardly be deemed intentional, can it?
Superstition arrives on disc in pretty much the condition we should expect from such a title. There are no extras, whilst the presentation is serviceable if unexceptional. The film is given an anamorphic transfer (at a ratio of 1.78:1) and comes with the original English mono (English subtitles being optional). In both cases, there are no major problems to speak of – both remain clean throughout and free of any overt damage – but the image is a tad on the soft side and suffers from intermittent artefacting. Neither proves to be overly distracting and no doubt fans of the film will overlook such flaws. That said, anyone else is best advised to avoid – a lacklustre film on a lacklustre disc.