dinsdag 6 december 2011

Shadow (2009)

This Italian horror flick by Federico Zampaglione can be devided into three sections, each part almost representing its own subgenre. Shadow has some smooth transitions between the first, middle and final part making it a relatively refreshing experience. Even though the back of the dvd cover proclaims it is a traditional Italian horror flick inspired by Argento and such, it´s not even close to a typical Italian horror.

Literally nothing about this film ´feels´ truly Italian. Alright, maybe the soundtrack has a few recognizable sounds to it, but the entire style, story and setting are not what you might expect. I´d say it´s more of a mix between scandinavian horror and maybe some darkish elements from the French. Not that all of this matters but the viewers expectations should be fair.

So, let’s take a look at what Zampaglione has to offer. The story starts as we follow a young soldier leaving for a mountain biking excursion. He meets the girl of his dreams as well a group of violent locals who want to see them dead at any cost. This pretty much describes the first part of the film which unfolds as a standard survival flick with dumb hillbillies and naive youngsters.

The second act feels more like a supernatural film. The thick fog gives it a haunting feeling and it all changes from being so damn straight forward into something a lot more mysterious. The change in tone is perfectly timed as the cat and mouse game we’ve been witnessing so far was starting to get old already.

Then we arrive at the place where it will all go down. The third act is pretty much your standard nazi-torture setup with a freakish badguy and sick experiments. Again, it’s a welcome change but much like the rest so far; it’s pretty mediocre. It’s definitely a fun watch with some ups and downs, but it doesn’t have the necessary ‘edge’ to make it stand out. Not in the first, middle nor last part.
The rest pretty much explains itself: the acting is ok, the vibe is pretty neat and the freak is pretty damn cool. Only the ending spoiled a lot for me. Zampaglione came up with an excuse to make it all ‘plausible’. Why not leave it the way it is? It just is what it is! Don’t try to wrap it up in some sort of excuse.

In the end there’s plenty to enjoy in ‘Shadow’, though I can’t help but feel a bit dissapointed anyways. Some ideas work out, some don’t. They are pretty much in balance, so it makes up for a decent modern (Europian) horror flick, but it’s not the hidden gem I was secretely hoping for.

Check out this review on SlashingThrough!
Score: 68/100

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