Shadow

"Very Good"

Shadow Review


Grisly and atmospheric, this Italian horror was clearly made for American audiences. It cleverly weaves together nasty nightmares from both the Iraq occupation and World War II while constantly grossing us out. Although we never get very deeply involved.

After his tour of duty in Iraq, David (Muxworthy) rides his mountain bike into the Italian Alps. At an isolated tavern called The Shadow, he meets the sparky-sexy Angeline (Testa), but they quickly annoy a pair of vicious hunters (Coppola and Blitch). So when their paths cross again in the woods, the bikers become the prey, riding straight into a shadowy, mysterious part of the mountains reportedly haunted by vengeful war dead. If only. Even with meeting the hot Angeline, this isn't the mind-clearing getaway David had in mind.

Popstar Zampaglione clearly enjoys constantly unsettling us, from sudden noises to glimpses of rusty blades, plus flashbacks to the battlefield and overly masculine, gun-happy thugs. And then there's the sadistic bald nutcase (Arquint) who appears out of nowhere and tries to divert the movie into the Saw franchise. Some of this is very cheesy: this is Italy, but everyone speaks English, and the hunters drive a Jeep festooned with both the US and Confederate flags, as well as the Union Jack.

Strangely, virtually every element comes from bad American horror, recycling cliches and ideas while aiming at the least observant audience imaginable. That said, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the film is strikingly well edited to build a sense of dread as things continually go bump in the night or rustle the leaves in the foggy gloom. Muxworthy underplays his role very nicely indeed while everyone around him ramps up the testosterone, including Testa. Arquint is just plain weird.

As it progresses, the competent filmmaking keeps us interested, especially since we're never sure where it's going next. And the increasingly hideous grisliness will entertain horror fans up until the big-shift ending. Most of this isn't actually very explicit, but that makes it even more wince-inducing.

The real problem, besides a lack of originality, is that we don't really know any of the characters at all. So the film's main message seems to be: don't lick the frog.



Shadow

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 77 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th May 2010

Distributed by: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Federico Zampaglione

Producer: Massimo Ferrero

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