Shadow Film Review–A Rare Misstep From The IFC
Take one part Rambo, one part Deliverance, and one part Hostel, and what do you get? Wait–don’t answer. Because I haven’t told you the weirdest part: the mixing bowl in which we blend our disparate ingredients is no less than the IFC, who sent out this baffling amalgam they’re calling Shadow for me to review.
Shadow follows David, a young Iraq War veteran who’s out biking in Europe following his successful return from duty. He’s having a nice time of it, cruising the trails, meeting attractive French girls, and so on. At least until a run-in at a bar with a couple of hunters makes him a couple of bad enemies. They tail David in a bid to get some revenge, and in the process, find themselves squarely in the clutches of an emaciated lunatic who embarks on a series of bizarre, clinical tortures on his newfound victims. Will David get out alive, with or without the hunters in tow?
There’s an old saying, and The Incredibles did it first–”when everybody’s super, no one is”–and that, oddly, actually applies here. We’ve got a combat veteran going up against a pair of gun-toting wackadoos who all find themselves in the clutches of a pure-on nightmare. This should all be quite awesome, but it ends up playing against itself, almost, and yielding a good first half, but a significantly slower second half that has a tendency to devolve into torture porn, complete with occasional toad licking sessions.
I never thought I’d be accusing the IFC, of all places, of putting out torture porn, but that’s a fair assessment of what we’re looking at here. I will, however, give them plenty of due credit for using that weak space as a great setup for a last half hour full of twists, betrayals and surprises, and call it a vast improvement.
There will even be a reasonably satisfying twist ending here, in the general hallmark of the IFC. So yes, Shadow has its rough patches, but it will still do a very solid job in the end. If it weren’t for about the ten minutes or so in the middle of all this, it might have been even better.
Still though, I can allow for a misstep or two from otherwise top-notch IFC, and it just serves to remind us that no one wins them all, not even great companies like this.
The Screenhead Ten Scale gives Shadow a six out of ten. It’s a good idea, and it’s executed mostly well, but not without a few problems that get in the way of enjoying it. Still, it’s mostly a good time, and should make a worthwhile rental, if nothing else.