Dead Shadows (2012)
Written and directed by David Cholewa
Dead Shadows is the feature film debut for director David Cholewa, and if this is any indication of what he's capable of, we can expect some more truly entertaining films in the future.
Right from its intergalactic intro, Dead Shadows feels like a bigger movie than it actually is. With just a 70-minute running time and certainly a limited budget, Dead Shadows could have been pigeonholed into being just another indie horror film. However, it has a story and characters that draw the viewer in. And with an absolute bounty of entertaining scenes, Cholewa succeeds in creating a genre-blending thrill ride.
Written by Vincent Julé and set in Paris, this French-language movie follows IT tech Chris (Wolfrom) during a nightmarish night as a mysterious comet passes through the sky. Unsure of what effect the comet will have, some of the young people of Paris do exactly what you would imagine they would to do in the face of the unexpected…they have an apocalypse party. That's where the fun starts.
And there's the key word for Dead Shadows…fun. This movie is an absolute blast for its entire 70-minute run. It's sci-fi, it's horror, it has aliens and zombie-like creatures with tons of action and stunts. The fight scenes are great, the sex scene is incredibly memorable and the F/X work is very effective. The filmmakers blend slickly created CGI with practical effects, making a nightmarish landscape of terrors. And the weapons…you name it, you've got it. Guns, swords, baseball bats, I even saw a tank go rolling through one scene. All this eye candy adds up to a great time for the viewer.
As for the cast, Fabian Wolfrom is lovable in the lead role of Chris. The viewer instantly connects with him, and he becomes a character that's easy to love and root for. He's a severe nyctophobe (afraid of the dark) who's forced to face that fear as the strange comet turns Paris on its ear. Surrounding Wolfrom is an eclectic cast of characters, beasties, aliens and monsters that add real flavor to this adventure. Incidentally, keep an eye out for an especially amorous spider-lady that's marvelously done with a blend of F/X.
Although we never really get all the details as to exactly what is going on in Paris, we know it's due to the comet. We also know that the city is in chaos and loaded with gruesome, aggressive, bloodthirsty creatures. And we know that our hero is having a helluva time trying to survive, and as the night goes on, things get progressively worse.
Horror fans are going to have a lot of fun with this action-packed film. There are a couple of outstanding F/X scenes that will drop the jaw of even the most seasoned horror veteran. The short runtime limits the expansion of the story, and although it's great to sit back and watch a parade of effects, a bit more explanation would have solidified the film. However, that being said, Dead Shadows is indeed a great time. Sit back, strap in and prepare for a couple of OMG moments as David Cholewa wows you with a visual onslaught of horrific movie magic. Enjoy!
4 out of 5