Movie Review: Shadow People

ShadowPeopleThe phenomenon of SUNDS (Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome), and the belief that malevolent creatures may be to blame is the basis of the new film, Shadow People. Written and directed by Matthew Arnold, the film stars Dallas Roberts; whose current tenure on the AMC hit TV show “The Walking Dead” is sure to garner interest from horror fans, and rightly so.

Roberts plays Charlie Crowe, a small town radio personality and divorced father trying to juggle his fledgling radio career while attempting to re-establish a relationship with his estranged son.

When Crowe receives a strange call on his radio program one night from a young man fearful of the Shadow People and subsequently dies, it sets into motion the possibility that not only could these manifestations be real, but the story itself could also be news worthy enough to be his golden ticket to the big time. Together with CDC Agent Sophie Lancombe (Alison Eastwood), the pair begins an investigation which ultimately uncovers a dark world and decades long cover-up.

Shadow People explores the actual historical evidence of SUNDS and the real phenomenon of an inverse placebo effect, where the mind can actually kill the body through false belief. Backed by real archival footage from a suspected outbreak which occurred in Kentucky, it uses the “found footage” approach to film making in a new and exciting way by intertwining the story along with actual, real-life participants.

“Shadow People” also stars Anne Dudek (“Mad Men,” White Chicks), and Mattie Liptak (Quarantine 2, The Candy Shop).

What I liked: I enjoyed the mixing of news footage with real world interviews within the context of the story. The combination worked well in not only establlishing the possibility that Shadow People might actually exist, but also calls into question the true power of the mind.

The SUNDS  phenomenon and Shadow People are both interesting topics that have been around for centuries. In Persia they’re called “Bakhtak.” In Japan, they’re the “Kanashibari.”; and in Mexico they’re called the “Subirse el Muerto”. Victims have reportedly been awoken from their sleep to find themselves paralyzed and a noise buzzing in their head while a shadowy figure stands and watches them. Some experts believe that these “appearances” may be tied to SUNDS.

What I didn’t like: Although the combination of footage and interviews is both welcome and appealing, it’s over saturation tends to become confusing and drawn out after a while.

Bottom line:  Although the film tends to drag a bit at times, Shadow People is a film which nicely brings to light the subject of SUNDS and has enough scares and mystery to hold your interest for it’s 88 minute run time.

Shadow People (Rated PG-13) will be released on Blu-ray / DVD on March 19th.

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