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'Dead Shadows' shows promise, but ultimately lets us down

Dead Shadows


In many ways, there really is only a finite number of stories that are out there to be told, it's all about the variations on the theme and subtle little twists in execution that make a film stand out and separate from those that came before and those that will come long after it. "Dead Shadows" certainly has a strong enough premise as it apes on films like "Lifeforce" but the execution of it all was just a little too uneven to be genuinely memorable.

Things are getting weird

"Dead Shadows" tells the unfortunate story of Chris (Fabian Wolfrom) who saw his parents brutally murdered 11 years ago on a day that Hailey's comet could be seen from Earth. But now, 11 years later a new comet is appearing and everyone in Chris' building is getting ready to party in honor of the big event. However, as night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act pretty strangely. As the night goes on they are becoming disoriented and violent, and not because of the evening's festivities because they begin to mutate into something far beyond recognition. Chris tries to escape the building with the help of a menacing gun toting tenant (John Fallon) but the question is, will they make it out alive?

It's got a couple of moments, but unfortunately the uneven pacing of "Dead Shadows" means we never really get a chance to get invested in anything that happens in this story.

In his first directorial effort, David Cholewa shows some genuine promise as this story begins to unfold as he shoots the streets of Paris, maximizing the dark corners and the nooks and crannies as best he can. It's got some obvious budgetary constraints, but it looks good overall with some solid visual effects.

Sadly this film's genuine problem is in the script from first time writer Vincent Jule. The film only runs a scant 76 minutes and truly spends far too much time setting up the impending weirdness only to rush towards an unsatisfactory conclusion. It was a neat idea but there simply wasn't enough character development to genuinely have this narrative generate an authentic connection with the audience.

None of the ensemble is simply good enough to rise above the uneven and mismanaged script, if only because they just don't have enough collective experience to try and get this narrative to where it needs to go.

The story is certainly original enough as it at least borrows from some interesting cult films and it has some visual flair but sadly "Dead Shadows" is truly mismanaged from a narrative perspective and it makes it a truly forgettable entry into the genre. But at the very least, it's short.

2 out of 5 stars.

Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are solid enough and the special features include a look at the making of the special effects, some deleted scenes, an interview with Producer/Director David Cholewa, the theatrical and the teaser trailer.

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