Awaken the Shadowman tries really hard to be a ‘slow-burn’ of a horror movie but misses the point that for that to work it has to have a satisfying payoff. While it has plenty of intriguing mysterious moments about it, the lack of answered questions is astounding.
Adam (James Zimbardi) returns to his hometown with his wife and new baby in tow after a receiving a call from his younger brother, Jake (Skyler Caleb). The pair have been estranged since they had a fallout years previously but with their mother now missing the pair are reunited.
It’s very awkward between the pair at first but their respective wives try to make things easier. Not so simple though as Christy (Jake’s wife) is also Adam’s ex. A seemingly potential plot line that is never fully explored save for the odd mention here and there.
When Adam, his wife Beth (Emily Somers) and their baby go inside they find an odd event occurring. A large group of people, a bereavement group, are inside ready to greet Adam. They call themselves, Gateways and give off an instant cult vibe thanks to the group leader, Lawrence (Raam Weinfeld).
Adam is disturbed by the group and as he begins to look into his mother’s disappearance begins to see that Gateways has a grip on the town. He begins to suspect that they may have been involved with his mother’s disappearance but just who can he trust?
If Awaken the Shadowman had been a thriller/horror based around the group/cult, it probably would have been a far better film. Instead, supernatural elements are shoe-horned in that end up making very little sense.
Rather then play on the creep factor of a hidden cult keeping a town under its control, it goes for uninspired scares like dolls under blankets covered in ritual markings and shadows creeping up behind people.
Again, that in itself might not have been such a big problem if the finale delivered a effective and satisfying conclusion but it doesn’t. Instead, it comes across rushed and doesn’t answer most of the questions involved. What is the shadowman? How did it come to be? Where did the cult come from? Why do they want Adam and his family to join? So many questions and so little answered.
It’s a shame as there is plenty of tension built throughout and plenty of good acting even if a lot of the time nothing really ever seems to happen. A quality payoff to all of this and Awaken the Shadowman would be worth getting excited about. As it is, it just ends up feeling like a waste of time.
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Awaken the Shadowman