SHADOW PEOPLE (BLU RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
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 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.
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.