Film Review: Dead Shadows (2012)

Dead-Shadows-bluray-scream-factorySYNOPSIS:

Chris’ parents were murdered on the same day the Halley comet was visible from Earth. Eleven years later, a new comet lights up the Parisian sky, but as the night goes on, people begins to transform into horrible creatures.

REVIEW:

The world is unrest as a comet makes it way to earth. In typical fashion, everyone prepares in their own way for a potential apocalypse. Chris (Fabian Wolfrom), a gamer support clerk notices that as this event nears people are beginning to act rather strange. The strangeness varies from odd to downright creepy as he begins to realize that something darker has occurred and is getting worse. Chris also has a past that haunts him……seeing the murder of his parents 11 years ago when Haley’s Comet could be seen from earth.

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Chris’s attractive neighbor (Blandine Marmigère) Claire, a sexy free spirited painter who just ended an assumed relationship begins to come on to Chris starting with a simple invitation for him to join her at a apocalypse party being held in the building. Like a bizarre 80s music video (let’s call it Huey Lewis “Heart and Soul” feeling), this crowd is fueled for the event wearing their best odd personas in celebration and anticipation. Chris who suffers from anxiety over darkness doesn’t react well when his meds take a toll on the alcohol mixture.

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Though this sets the stage for the real oddities to start happening. Wormy entities begin to appear around town, faces begin to melt while others seem to be in a state of some sort of transformation that resemble a zombie-like change. In all, it’s this quirkiness that introduces a dark comedic tone to the otherwise horrific events unraveling. Chris is a survivor and spectator to the whole event as he just tries to make his way out of his building. He is befriended by a tenant who also seems prepared to shoot first and ask questions later. Really, this just provides a few more sequences for odd things to emerge from the dark. While short-lived, I’m not really sure that anyone in this film really fits the hero profile.

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Chris manages to finally step up the plate taking out a variety of zombie-like cretins and “Thing-esque critters before reacquainting himself with the distraught Claire. You can’t mention this film, without saying the typical classification of “Lovecraftian”, however which is really another word for tentacle based organic monstrosities. The FX are clearly a winner here and are reaffirmed with the inclusion of a FX behind the scenes extra which is located n the bluray. It’s too bad that the VFX left out didn’t make the cut, as I though it was one of the cooler inclusions. Maybe its just that I’m a sucker for anything weird and organic…who knows?

This French horror film, directed by David Cholewa is one rooted in quirkiness, horror, and charm. I remember hearing of this film briefly which arrived at first without subtitles. Shout Factory has taken the reigns here with a great blu-ray release that contains subtitles “and” an English Audio track. You can’t help but wonder though why the filmmakers chose this particular title that seems misplaced in connection with the actual film. Or more specifically just the term “Dead Shadows” which is a term that makes no sense. How bout “Dark Invasion” or “Chaos unleashed”? Now there’s a couple titles more fitting!

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French films themselves can have a certain feel that is clearly different from American releases. This film is no exception to the breed which despite following paths laid out in films like “Attack the Block” stands strangely on this own merits

I have to call em like I see em…..this film is a really good find for Shout Factory to bring to the masses. If you only watch it for the creatures, you’ll still find satisfaction, however I simply found myself a fan of this oddity.

You can pick up the newly released blu-ray of Dead Shadows at Shout Factory (available April 29th)

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