A nurse is assigned to the wife of a rich sugar planter in the West Indies, a woman who has lost all personal will and consciousness as a result of permanent damage brought on by a tropical fever. The nurse is thrust into a lover's quarrel between the plantation owner and his brother as she attempts to cure the emotionless "zombie" before finally turning to a voodoo priest as a last chance at revival. Tourneur demonstrates masterful visual storytelling throughout the film, using stark contrasts, fluid camera movements, and graphic metaphors to decorate the already engaging plot. The cold, empty, but beautiful plantation house reflects the lifeless walking corpse of Mrs. Holland in just one of many visual clues left through the film. Unlike the typically insulting voodoo ceremonies included in other films of the time, Tourneur offers a respectful and artful representation of voodoo ritualism in a beautifully shot sequence where the servants put Mrs. Holland through a series of trials to see if she is one of the undead. Christine Gordon's deathly white complexion and flowing garbs give her a ghost-like and otherworldly appearance that maintains an eerie mood. Many of the more suspenseful scenes are devoid of any score, which makes them all the more frightening in the overpowering silence broken only by the rustling wind. I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE is not a typical Horror movie, focusing much more on the character interactions and love triangles than the scares, but it is an excellent Gothic Horror entry outside of the typical Universal monster films of the 1940s.
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