There’s a long cinematic history in which cultural superstitions are put onto film. For example, The Ring, The Exorcist, The Grudge, Poltergeist, and The Wicker Man come to mind. There are many more, but it’s worth mentioning that Japan has been a forerunner in this particular subset of the genre in recent years.
Director/writer Matthew Arnold’s Shadow People is among the latest films to enter this subgenre. What Arnold has done is take a very real superstition that spans the globe and made a terrifying film out of it. It’s terrifying, because as with most supernatural events, they’re explainable, and as much as there is no proof of their existence, there’s none to really refute them either. Hence, they’re scary.
Shadow people, according to legend, are shadowy figures that appear to people as they sleep or approach sleep. Naturally, the victim has to have a predisposition to allow the shadow people to enter their world, but when the shadow people arrive the usually occupy space on the walls or ceiling. However, they’ve been known to jump into bed with their victims. Victims die in their sleep and science has described this phenomenon as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS).
There’s your background.
The film follows Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts – ), a failing radio talk show host, who discovers and becomes obsessed with shadow people shortly after receiving an on-air phone call. Charlie quickly writes off the teen boy as mentally ill, but when the boy dies in his sleep, Charlie can’t stop thinking about it. As he shares his experiences and the knowledge that he’s acquired, his show is flooded with calls from people who’ve experienced or know of the phenomenon. Unfortunately, as the number of people who believe in the shadow people, so does the body count.
Shadow People takes a mockumentary approach and intercuts the film with “actual” footage of the people who “really” experienced the story being told. It’s an interesting gimmick, but it doesn’t really do anything to help the film. Put it this way, if these scenes weren’t in the film, they wouldn’t be missed.
If supernatural horror scares you, then you will want to see Shadow People. There’s no super crazy special effects to admire, but when you have this kind of film, the scares come in the story telling. I think the film really taps into what scares us as a species, and it does a fine job of creeping you out. Shadow People is one of those films that you’ll be thinking about days after viewing.
Rock Hard \m/
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Year Released:
- 19 March 2013
- Matthew Arnold
- Dallas Roberts, Alison Eastwood, Anne Dudek, Mariah Bonner, Mattie Liptak, Christopher Berry, Jonathan Baron, Tony Schiena
- Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Supernatural
- Official URL: