Anchor Bay has been on a roll the past while getting some great little genre films under their belts. The Barrens, Excision, Chained, The Victim, Vile, The Speak, Some Guy Who Kills People, Exit Humanity, The Divide, Monster Brawl, The Dead, A Horrible Way to Die, Bereavement, Medium Raw, Frozen…the list goes on. They seem to be singlehandedly spearheading a renaissance of independent horror that is spreading like wildfire. And I for one couldn’t be happier about it. Their latest release is Shadow People.
Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts) is a radio talk show host who hasn’t exactly made a lot of friends. He is opinionated and brash and his show, much like his personal life, is falling apart. When the show is not picked up for syndication and his son wants nothing to do with him, Charlie hits rock bottom. But then he gets a call on his show from a 17 year old boy who claims something is coming for him in the darkness of his room, something that feeds on his fear. When the boy is hospitalized then dies mysteriously in his sleep, Charlie thinks there may be something to his claims. With ratings increasing over the death of the boy, Charlie’s show may be getting more attention, but it is the story of the Shadow People and their link to the deaths of several hundred people that has Charlie’s attention. He sets out to discover more about the legend of the Shadow People, but he may not be too happy with what he finds.
At the beginning of Shadow People we are told that the film is based in fact and that real footage is spliced into the movie when possible to help with the authenticity. I don’t know if this is really the case of if it is just a plot device as in the film The Fourth Kind but it works well. Anything in a horror film that lends to a sense of realism is more than welcome by me; I dig the found footage angle. Dallas Roberts who most people may know as Milton from The Walking Dead is actually really good in this role. He plays the arrogant talk show host with a hefty dose of attitude mixed with a bit of self-hatred. But once Charlie is on the case trying to figure out what the hell is going on, he is like a bloodhound with a scent and won’t let it go. The pace of the film is slow and methodical and it really works for the subject matter. The effects are kept low key and the tension is palpable throughout most of the film as well. And the story is an interesting one, I found myself going right from the TV to the laptop to research the claims made in the movie as soon as I was done watching it. It works on every level and is a great little spook house tale of something lurking in the shadows. And that fact that they make you question it’s groundwork in reality only makes it better.
The Blu-ray from Anchor Bay is by no means a stunner, but it is a nice solid transfer of a good looking indie film. Much of the film takes place in the dark but the black levels are handled well and still provide nice clarity and detail despite the dark picture. Sound is good too with some nice creepy atmospherics in the rear channels. Shadow People might not be the best horror film you have ever seen, but it is a lean, tightly put together little creep show that is very entertaining with a nice lead performance by Dallas Roberts.
Available March 19, 2013 on Blu-ray and DVD.