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SHADOW PEOPLE (BLU RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Matthew Arnold

Starring:
Dallas Roberts
Alison Eastwood
Anne Dudek
Mariah Bonner

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A radio talk show host unravels a conspiracy about encounters with mysterious beings known as The Shadow People and their role in the unexplained deaths of several hundred victims in the 1980s.
Is it good movie?
This flick zeros in on the "true story" of the SUNDS (Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome) phenomena, which essentially posits that your mind can kill you if you believe it to be true (or something like that). Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts of Walking Dead fame, among other things) is a radio host who is determined to shed some light on this subject, and he winds up working with CDC agent Sophie Lancombe (Alison Eastwood). Crowe runs into this business in a creepy way when a caller speaks to him on his show, frantically and begs for help as the "shadow people" are tensed to attack him.

Crowe of course dismisses the caller, until he gets a package of evidence from that same caller that might lead one to believe that there's a method to his madness. After another call from the victim, Crowe goes hardcore as people start disappearing in his own small town. Unfortunately for Crowe, once he starts spreading the word about a phenomenon that will kill you if you believe in it, naturally more people will die as a result (if you believe this sort of thing). He gets help from Maggie (Mariah Bonner), a college student along the way, which leads to a pretty tense scene.

Dallas Roberts is our anchor here, turning in an honest and somewhat unlikeable character in the obsessed Charlie Crowe. You might not love him, but the guy is believable as a slightly too focused and close to burnt out radio host. The rest of the cast is fairly good too. Alison Eastwood is convincing as the mean, cold CDC agent who is slightly skeptical of Crowe's approach.  I was also super pleased to see that Shadow People took the "less is more" approach and doesn't blast you with awful CGI monsters all the time. The scares are decently crafted and come at the right time. Pretty effective, really. It's really cool to see what you can do with shadow play.

This isn't a gory film, so if you're looking for buckets of the red stuff you can look elsewhere. Instead, this is more of a psychological sort of ghost story. As a gimmick, they also use "real footage" cut throughout the movie. You get stuff like police interviews, reports, quick cuts, stuff like that to add to the "authenticity" of the piece. It works just fine, I suppose. This didn't work for me whatsoever with The Fourth Kind, but here it didn't seem to bother me nearly as much.

Of course, if you're looking for criticism here (and of course you are!), I'd have to say that my interest tended to wane a little as things went on (a fairly typical trap for films like this), because things tended to get a bit more heavy handed, but it wasn't enough to wreck my enjoyment of the film overall. I also found myself wishing that the flick would take hold of its cool concept and present something really memorable, but it does fall short a little in terms of feeling a little on the safe side.

Video / Audio
Video is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen with a 1080p transfer and looks sharp. The flick has a cold and bland visual style to it, and detail is impressive.

Audio shows up in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track, and sounds really, really good. Dialogue sounds good, sound effects are played well through the surround channels, can't complain here.

The Extras
The only extra here is Shadow People: More to the Story, which runs about 12 minutes and interviews a couple of folks about SUNDS, offering more context to this mysterious gimmick. Nothing about the making of the film here.

Last Call
Sure, it isn't perfect, but I had a good time with Shadow People. It does tend to play it a bit safe, but at least it doesn't blow itself out of the water with a totally ridiculous ending or bad CGI throughout. It's helped by some good performances, too. Check it out.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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