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‘Juju Stories’ review: Nigerian anthology focuses on folklore & tradition

Anthology film from Nigeria all about story.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Movies Podcast!

Juju Stories is an anthology film from Nigera that is screening at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. The three stories are based in superstitions and centuries old beliefs. From tales of love potions to stories about witches, the movie takes familiar themes from the genre and puts a spin on them not often seen in American films. 

Every once in a while there is a surge in popularity in foreign horror movies. It is rare that they come from Africa, however. Even when scary films from this country borrow folklore from other places, it is usually from Europe or Japan. For this reason alone, Juju Stories provides audiences something different. 

This difference is apparent in each segment. “Juju” refers to magic and tradition, which each story is filled with. The premises for each part does not have to be entirely unique since they incorporate aspects that most will be unfamiliar with. Stories about passion run amok and unforeseen wealth are common in anthology films. Juju Stories still manages to make each one seem different.

'Juju Stories' review: Nigerian anthology focuses on folklore & tradition

The people behind the camera are just as interesting. The three directors make up a collective known as Surreal 16. They have vowed to produce films that defy how Nigeria has normally been depicted in Western film. The idea is to focus on legends and culture and not on political strife and social problems. 

Much like Dogme 95, the group have very specific rules in regards to their films. Some rules include no movies about weddings, the film must have an African perspective, and no religious propaganda. Juju Stories has a focus on characters and narrative that highlights the country and its culture.

Juju Stories is screening a the Indie Memphis Film Festival through October 25

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