Welcome to another Two Brothers Review. For the uninitiated, this column is a co-production by me, Andrew Young, and my brother Nathan. I write a full review and then Nathan gives his thoughts at the end. So what do the two of us review? Movies, of course. Sometimes we watch a film and we both have the urge to say something about it. Sometimes, we bash the crap out of a film until it begs for mercy. Then we bash it some more. Other times, we find ourselves morbidly obsessed with a movie and have to dissect it. Either way, we’re here to talk about a movie so please, read on.
Ever notice when a certain actor attains a certain level of notoriety, a film they made a year or two before gets released to capitalize on their new found fame? That’s the feeling I get with this week’s release of Shadow People from Anchor Bay. Currently on AMC, actor Dallas Roberts is getting some much deserved praise in the role of Milton, right hand man to the Governor, the main antagonist for this season of The Walking Dead. Now, a horror film starring Roberts is making the rounds. Convenient. This could be coincidence but I have my doubts. Regardless, Shadow People came to DVD and Blu ray on Tuesday and I took an interest in seeing it based on the fact that Milton from The Walking Dead was it. Sales ploy or not, I took the bait. Now did I enjoy the film? Even thought I took the bait, I can’t say I was hooked.
The story of Shadow People is a pretty simple one. Charlie Crow, the host of local, late night radio show in Kentucky, receives a haunting phone call from a listener that triggers a chain of events which leads to multiple deaths and a whole bunch of questions. The caller is broken up and scared about a series of experiences he’s had where he’s paralyzed in his bed and “shadow creatures” move towards him in his sleep. This story is contested by Crow at first until this same caller ends up dead the next morning, apparently dying in his sleep. After a bit of investigation, Crow decides to use his radio show as a chance to further explore this death and the phenomenon of Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome. His initial intentions are to boost ratings for his failing show but slowly lead him down the path to uncovering the means of this epidemic. Joining him in this investigation is Sophie Lacombe (played by Alison Eastwood), a CDC agent assigned to a string of sudden sleep-related deaths. Incorporating found footage with reenactments, the film is presented in a fake documentary style, using what is claimed to be archival footage from news reports an interviews from this supposed outbreak.
I wish I could tell you that this film did something different with the “found footage” genre. That it struck horror in my heart like never before. I wish I could tell you that. The fact of the matter is that it took a subject that’s not really that scary and attempted to make it seem creepy by infusing it with the potential that it might be a real threat. It is a failed attempt. I’m not saying this film is horrible. The acting is, for the most part, passable and the the story, while weak, is not boring in any way. Where it misses the mark is that it’s not at all frightening. It’s just shadows. That’s it. For some reason, people start dying because of the shadows, true, but at the end of the day it’s still just a film about people who’re afraid of their shadows.
The film lives and dies by Dallas Roberts. He has to do all the heavy lifting in this picture. He’s the one who needs to feel that the threat of this film is real. He tries his best and is at points very convincing but there’s only so much one man can do with a poor script. And he has no back up in this film. The rest of the cast comes off as largely mediocre. Allison Eastwood, who is for better or worse the lead female performer, is as unappealing as ever. Her acting is flat. She appears to just be going through the motions. Her “real life” counterpart is more convincing but not by much. I say “real life” because the attempt to make this film part documentary is almost convincing. The problem is that they fall back on this device as a crutch far too much and because of this, the cracks begin to show on their fake found footage. What’s even more peculiar is the split-screen effect they use to introduce new characters and information. Showing the actors on one side doing something and the supposed real life footage on the other doing the exact same thing. It’s an interesting visual but not something I think you would see in a documentary. Why go to the trouble and expense of reshooting a scene you already have usable footage of? It’s perplexing.
All in all, Shadow People is not a terrible film. It’s just not a very good one either. I can’t really recommend it to anyone except fans of Dallas Roberts. If you want to see this man give a decent performance when the script and the additional casting should dictate otherwise, check out this movie. He’s the one saving grace of the film. The rest is just going through the motions…..or dancing in the shadows as it were. Shadow People is now available on Blu ray and DVD.
So that’s my review of Shadow People. Now it’s time for Nathan to speak his mind. Printed below are direct quotes from him made during and after watching Shadow People. His opinions and thoughts do not reflect Geek Hard or its associates, but I thought that they should be printed to provide an honest movie-goer’s take on the film. Some of his comments may be seen as offensive. Others might not make sense at all. I have included them all to paint the picture of his thoughts and feelings on this film. Read on.
At the beginning, there’s this kid who’s worried about someone eating his rice. “He’s asleep. We can eat his rice. It’s a party now!”
Crow’s got a thing for expired food. His wife throws out his expired food. He pulls it out of the garbage. He complains that he and his son don’t share common interests. How many kids do you know who are interested in expired food? The only thing that was fresh in that movie was his milk and he spilt that shit all over the floor.
This movie is like Slender man meets Freddy Kruger but….you know….shitty.
This guy’s not very inventive with names. Shadow People? Coulda called it anything. Coulda called it Dark Demons. Something actually scary. But he went with Shadow People. Kinda rolls off the tongue. You know what else rolls off the tongue? “Horrible Horror Movie”. He could’ve just called them that.
You know how I know this movie was fake? The “real” guy is fat and his wife is hot. And he looks like he’s 40 years older than her. If you’re gonna show the “real” people, try to cast better “real” people.
The most passionate person in the film is the paper boy. He’s got one scene in the movie where he chucks the paper at the guy’s door. I would rather watch a film that explored the paper boy’s anger issues.
This film feels like it should have Jodie Foster. She’s likes crazy people, right? Like Mel Gibson? We gotta kill Mel Gibson. He’s the Shadow People, for sure.
He lets the CDC Woman into the house just because she says, “Shadow People”. It’s like “What’s the password?” “Shadow People” “Come on in”.
How come everyone sleeps with their feet uncovered? No wonder the Shadow People got ’em.
Why the hell are people so scared of shadows? Everybody’s got a shadow. Here’s the shadow of my middle finger.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!