BY SEGUN ODEJIMI
CJ Obasi’s Ojuju is one movie that has generated more interest outside Nigeria than within it. This audacious zombie-themed movie by one of Nollywood’s rapidly-maturing directors is as low budget as a low budget production can be.
But don’t let that fool you. This is a fine piece of art. One that will leave you wondering what kind of films it is that investors actually put their money in because, in truth, this is a thriller that should actually thrill them.
Starring Gabriel Afolayan as Romero, Omowunmi Dada as Peju, Meg Otanwa as Alero and a cameo appearance by comedian Klint da Drunk, Ojuju tells the story of Romero and his friends who must fight their way out of their neighborhood when the sole community water supply infects people with rabid river blindness, turning them into flesh-craving monsters.
The movie is set in one of Lagos’ slums after the director who also is the writer went to visit a friend and co-collaborator where, according to him, majority of the inspiration for the movie comes from.
Local drug dealer, Fela played by Chidozie Nzeribe is one of the first victims of the ojujus who were initially mistaken by the community for drunks.
A major compelling part of this movie is Obasi’s conscious effort to steer clear of trying to make it too scary – trying to constipate it with frivolous special effects. Probably the lack of funds added to this, but it turned out to be a masterstroke. Ojuju would have died prematurely if the actors were not well above average, talent-wise. But thankfully, the likes of Meg Otanwa, Chidozie Nzeribe, Paul Utomi and Omowunmi Dada gave brilliant accounts of themselves.
Gabriel Afolayan was actually the first actor to be cast and a look at this movie will tell you why. He was simply superb in his quest to keep himself and his girlfriend alive while searching for a way out of the community.
Obasi revealed that in Ojuju, he wanted to explore a situation where an incident causes inhabitants of a community to fight their way out of it through the only accessible route in and out of it. This he does with some aplomb. Little wonder this movie was named Best Nigerian Movie at the 2014 African International Film Festival.
Ojuju is an encouraging official start from CJ “Fiery” Obasi and Nollywood had better take note of this new filmmaking wonder.