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Analysis of the Serpent and the Rainbow Film

3 pages
582 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
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The film the Serpent and The Rainbow does a poor job of depicting Wade Davis work in Haiti. The movie set in Haiti connects the concept of Zombies and Voodoos in Haiti. Wade Davis earlier work in Haiti depicted a land filled with various cultures from all around the world. They managed to reconcile all these varying cultures into one strong culture that they all believe in to tackle the various challenges around them. Wade Davis who is an ethnobotanist goes to Haiti is a search of poisons and potions that were apparently being used in the creation of Zombies. The film shows a different story of a chemist who goes to Haiti in search of a drug that brings people back from the dead.

The truth of the matter is Wade was not going to Haiti with the expectation of finding a drug that raises the dead. He went with the intention of figuring out what drug is it that they use that turns people into the zombie-like state. The film instead chose to focus on the horror rather than the study. There have been exaggerations in most of the movie like having the police chief as the witchdoctor. Wade did meet some political opposition because of his research, but it had nothing to do with the police chief but more of a diplomatic issue.

According to (Olmos, 26), Haiti is a land rich in culture. They have a strong history emanating from slavery that has enabled them to be no strangers to pain and suffering. (Olmos, 46) Views Haiti as a land that has had to deal with much misfortune. Davis also believes there is a strong link between Voodoos and Christianity. A great number of Haitians believe in spirits.

As part of his research Wade also focused on the Haitians history. In his book (Davis, 23-89), Wade talks lengthily about the history of Haiti, their battles with the colonialists and the evolution of their culture. The movie did little to show the Haitians history or culture. Wade believed that there are many answers regarding voodoos that can be found in the history of Haitians. It may be because there was so much information and the director was trying to cram in all in the movie.

Reading (Davis, 1-297), the whole process of voodoos is much more believable than in the movie. While Wade does explain the events that unfolded in quite an intense manner, he does so by giving the ascending order of events. This makes it easy for the reader to understand. On top of this, as a scientist, he did a good job of giving the reader the option of reading deciding for themselves their stand regarding the issue of voodoos. The film does not give such option as the script is geared towards making the viewer believe in the supernatural (craven). It makes little attempt to give the film a scientific backing hence it ends up being far-fetched.

Overall the film, The Serpent and the Rainbow is a good film to watch, but it is a bad option for someone who is looking to get a real understanding of the events that unfolded. To gain a better understanding of these events, one has to read the books.


Work Cited

Olmos, Margarite Fernandez, and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. "Creole religions of the Caribbean." NY: NYU P (2003).

Davis, Wade. The serpent and the rainbow. Simon and Schuster, 2010.

The Serpent and the Rainbow. Dir. Wes Craven. Perf. Bill Pullman. 1988. CD.



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