I Walked with a Zombie (1943)


Except for a single scream, no one speaks above a hard whisper. Wind rustles through sugar cane fields guarded by a pop-eyed, nearly skeletal zombie who stands as lifeless and stick-shouldered as a scarecrow. A dead rabbit hangs in a tree. Voodoo drums thrum the night air.

“I Walked with a Zombie” is a movie of such voluptuous atmosphere that if you surrender yourself to it, it almost seems as if you’ve been transported to another world. It’s a horror movie of suggestion, inference, punctuated with the occasional visual just sharp enough to prick through the feeling of dread and send a chill up the spine.

All performances low-key and excellent (Frances Dee notably good), the dialog crisp, but it’s the lighting, sets and camera work that make the movie what it is, a gorgeous vision of shadows that haunts the mind days later.