Directed by David Cholewa and starring Fabian Wolfrom, Blandine Papillon and John Fallon, Dead Shadows is an odd amalgamation of different horror ideas that does a lot right and a lot wrong. It’s downright insane at times, but it’s also nonsensical a lot of the time too.
The story surrounds a young man named Chris who suffers from Nyctophobia, an extreme fear of the dark. This seems to stem from his childhood and the night his father murdered this mother.
We meet Chris as the world is getting ready to experience an unknown comet that is going to be visible from Earth. A combination of excitement and euphoria has gripped the planet. Yet, a conspiracy theory that it’s actually going to cause an apocalyptic event has gathered pace and what would most humans do when the end of the world is in sight?
One such party that Chris ends up at, mainly because he is hoping to score with his attractive neighbour, Claire. It’s at this party where things start to go wrong as the comet seems to have an effect on people in different ways. Violent outbursts, mutations and so much more. This comet was carrying something and it has got tentacles.
Yes, Dead Shadows is, at its core, an alien invasion horror but that aspect of the story really does take a backseat to the effects of the comet on the people of Chris’ city and his attempt to survive. It’s his story and his fight for survival, along with some unexpected allies.
It sounds simple enough, and for the most part, it is. However, Dead Shadows creates a lot of ambiguity with its villain and its effects on humanity. Then throws in even more about its protagonist, before ending in sudden, confusing but impressive style. What begins subtly, people acting odd at a store, reaches a cacophony of tentacles, body morphing, melting and even a topless woman/spider hybrid. We can’t do the insanity justice and to go into too much detail would spoil a lot of the shock moments. A lot of what Dead Shadows does, needs to be seen to be believed.
Yet, is that enough to make it a great movie? Unfortunately, not. It’s a movie that really could have done with a longer runtime and more detail. At around 70 minutes, it feels too short and ends abruptly. Is it sequel baiting? Maybe but considering the movie is now 10 years old at the time of writing this review (2022), that seems highly unlikely.
Still, credit where credit is due, Dead Shadows is a pretty unforgettable watch. Every time you think it has hit a gruesome or shocking high, it goes one step further. By the end, you’ll be mesmerised by the horror unfolding in front of you, even if it doesn’t make a lick of sense.
Dead Shadows (2012)
The Final Score - 6/10