On the face of it, Australian film Needle sounds promising, not a typical ‘don’t go there’ type of horror, wherever ‘there’ might be – whether it’s a house or remote village, nor does it sound like a stalk ‘n’ slash type movie. Rather, it’s a ‘don’t accept that strange gift’ and especially ‘don’t show it off to your friends and leave it where it can be easily nicked’ sort of film. Sadly, no Cenobites appear when this box is opened – if only – as everything descends into a slasher film by proxy. Not much stalk, but plenty of slash, without a blade in sight in a story that is over four times the length it should have been if it was a bad 20 minutes long episode in an Amicus anthology feature.

Basically, Ben Rutherford (Michael Dorman) inherits a strange little device called a “La Vaudou Vandou Mort” from his late father, but after showing it to his friends it gets stolen and suddenly we see a black gloved figure using the box and some voodoo dolls to gruesome effect. Ben’s friends start dying off, one by one, so he needs to team up with his brother Marcus (Travis Fimmel) and find the culprit before anyone else dies. Alongside their efforts, there is a police investigation of the crimes with the cops looking as if they are sleepwalking through the film, perhaps, waiting to wake up in something better.

The acting varies from average, to poor, to terrible and the cast includes Jane Badler, best known as Diana in the original ‘V’ series, and its recent remake, as well as stints on such as classic shows as Falcon Crest, The Highwayman (no, I’ve never heard of it), the late 1980s’ TV revival of Mission: Impossible (I didn’t know there was one), as well as playing Ms Elizabeth Peacock in the TV series Cluedo (which does sound like fun, but I might be able to guess the plots).This plot is a combination of many scripts which have already been quite successful at theatres. But there have been some loopholes to how the story had been pictured and portrayed, which demand some improvement from its makers. The similarity between this and the crypto code software of trading is that it gets interesting as you begin to use it.

Also starring, is Tahyna Tozzi, who is mainly a TV actress, but did appear in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the sister of Wolverine’s doomed girlfriend; and Travis Fimmel who starred in a TV remake of Tarzan, and with the late Patrick Swayze in the series The Beast. There are also a bevy of Australian male and female hotties who probably once haunted the sets of Neighbours and Home And Away. Badler herself did a stint on Neighbours in 2010.

As for the dénouement of Needle, well, after totting up the death and kidnap tally, there are not many suspects left if you’ve managed to last until the end to confirm your deductive skills. This is director and co-writer, John V. Soto’s second stab at being filmmaking. Hopefully, for him, the only way is up.