October 24, 2013

Horror-A-Day: Shadow (2010)

So, Halloween is definitely coming, it is right around the corner. All of the warning signs are there, friends have their decorations up, AMC has their FrightFest in full effect, and the stores are getting filled with Christmas stuff. Thanksgiving you say? What's that? Anyway, the temperatures are takin on a chilly demeanor with multiple frosty morning in a row and afternoons that still carry a chill. Still, horror movies are nice and cozy indoors and always ready to welcome me. Unfortunately, I have found that the recent selections have not exactly been all that stellar.

The latest movie to cross my eyes turned out to be a backup movie. The first movie my Netflix scan landed on was a recent Ulli Lomel creation, Dungeon Girl. I think I made it ten minutes into that thing. It made me bored and creeped out at the same time. It is a weird combination, I am not sure I want to revisit it. After stopping that I found a 2010 tale called Shadow. It is watchable and not terrible. That's a good thing.

The movie stars Jake Muxworthy David. David is an Iraq War veteran and a mountain biking enthusiast who is told about a great biking location in Europe called The Shadow. So, David grabs his bike and heads there.

We pick up the movie with him peddling through some gorgeous forests and stopping at a bar for a diner/bar, something. There he runs into a couple of nasty hunter types with some really bad attitudes, whom he has a bit of a showdown with when they accost a woman, Angeline (Karina Testa). As they take off on their bikes, they become riding buddies as they bike and camp in the forest.

Certainly sounds horrific, right? Well, those nasty hunter fellows still have a beef with our newly formed biking tandem. A chase occurs, and it is pretty good as they speed through the trees. Bad things occur and they all end up in a deep, dark, oddly foggy part of the forest.

This is where the real horror kicks in. They all get knocked out and wake up strapped to metal tables. There is a crazy skinny fellow walking around torturing them ad taking he occasional break to lick a toad. Yes, you read that right, it is even labeled "bufo alvarius," which is a toad with a hallucinogenic poison. I don't think it has a major impact ad thought it was just an odd inclusion.

David escapes and begins wandering around trying to find Angeline. The hunters also escape and try to escape/kill the weird skinny toad licker. They wander around, they are hunted, there is a little bit of blood and then the end comes. The end comes out of nowhere and while potentially interesting, it is too familiar and I do not feel it was really earned.

Shadow is an odd movie. It is sort of split I'm two halves, you have the first half which is all biking and fighting with the mean hunters and then the second half turns into a tale of torture, and then the ending.

Now, I don't want to give the ending away, but I will give a not so subtle idea. The end is a mash up of The Wizard of Oz and Jacob's Ladder. Weird, right? The biggest thing is that it comes out of nowhere. I know that is sometimes the best way to go, but considering how mundane it starts and how familiar it turns into, the out of left field swerve in the last few minutes doesn't quite feel right for me.

Still, Shadow could have been better, but it also could have been worse. It is a movie that doesn't have much of anything, it is just sort of there. Sometimes that's all right.

Mildly Recommended.

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