Friday, November 11, 2011

Salvum me de Inferno liberabis: Shadow (2009)

Shadow (L'Ombra) (Italy, 2009)
starring: Jake Muxworthy, Karina Testa and Nuot Arquint

The new always needed friends, and this is where I come in.

Watching this new Italian horror flick and I wonder if I'm going to be disappointed. The look of the DVD cover already got to me, it's boring and cheap, but I learn never judge a book by its cover and went on with it anyway.

David is a US soldier who served in Iraq and is now taking his time do what he missed the most: biking. Hearing about a place called "The Shadow" deep in the European woods, he decided to give this place a shot and rest up in a backwoods tavern where he met a fellow cyclist named Angeline. They agreed to ride to the Shadow together, but they ran afoul with a pair of hunters who is angry at them for saving a deer, which was their game.

Soon, a cat-and-mouse chase broke out as the hunters try to kill the couple only to lead into an accident on the road. David and the two hunters survives this but find themselves at the mercy of a strange thin man with a fascination for torture and Nazi propagandas.

Visually artistic and grueling, Shadow is a throwback to 70s and 80s Italian horror at the vein of Argento and Fulci, completely with surreal imagry, catchy soundtrack, and weird colored lights, with a dose of today's wave of torture porn and slasher. It's overly creepy and tragic at some point, as it acts like a form of metaphor to war and the valuing human life, which means this film is not your typical bodycounter but it's more of a mix-mash of all horror film cliches with an added meaning to it.

This said, gore is very minimal and the murders is almost cut to nothing, but the building tension that the victims are put through is very off-putting and leads to a (albeit unoriginal) clever twist. The other thing that got me in this film, other than the twist, was its villain, "Mortis", played by Nuot Arquint. He's silent, lumbering and lean, an overall creepy presence every time he appears on screen. He maybe weak looking but he's a very bad mother when it comes to torturing people.

I can understand why a lot of people hated this. It's very unoriginal with a silly plot twist, but it's practically decent and watchable. It's a bit classy, psychological and even allegorical, Shadow is an underrated triumph that deserved a little more attention.

1 dog found eviscerated and burned
1 male pinned to the ground by at rap and ran over by a van
1 male caught on a trap and hacked to death with sickle
2 males immobulated by grenade
2 females immobulated by grenade
1 boy immolated by grenade
1 baby immolated by grenade
2 males immolated by a mine, later dies on the operating table
total: 11

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