Dead Shadows (Scream Factory)

Directors - David Cholewa

Cast - Fabian Wolfrom

Country of Origin - USA

Discs - 1

Distributor - Shout Factory

Reviewer - Abraham Phillips

Date - 04/22/14

Plot: Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of a young man, named Chris (Fabian Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that Haley’s comet could be seen from Earth. Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in Chris’s building are getting ready for a party to celebrate the event. As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strange – and this seems to somehow be connected to the comet. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond this world.

 

 

Film: (3/5)

 

 

Brought out on Blu-ray by the wonderful company Shout Factory, this is an interesting sci-fi horror film. A tale of a meteor that is to cross space by Earth's orbit. This meteor causes an effect where it starts to change people into mutated creatures. Truly an awesome wild over the top throwback to the classic days of gore and retro science-fiction mixed a modern day end of the world story.

 

 

The whole movie is very stylistic trippy and dark. This film is laced with the beautiful aspects of classic gory horror. You start off by seeing a meteor in space, which looks like it exits a black puddle, a black hole in a sense. It's lit with tiny lights and the mystery that it holds.

 

What stands out is the visual effects, special-effects, the make up is all extremely, extraordinary awesome. The effects work grabs the viewer and holds on to them and showcases interesting brutal violence through the visual effects taking place on screen.

 

This is directed by David Cholewa. This is his first feature film and I think he did a wonderful job in creating a retro science fiction atmosphere. The pacing is good because it's basically right to the point. This can also be a little let down in that the story is really never explained, but that does not dampen the ultimate appeal to what is happening and what is to come.

 

 

Something I love is Chris' room. If you look around he has all kinds of film related items. Figures of Jason, Shaun of the Dead, Slimer. Posters of Escape From New York, How the West was Won, Indian Jones. He even has Superman figures and a Duke Nukem statue amongst many others, just adding to the coolness and love affair of cinema.

 

 

Now adding something strange to the already strange film is Chris has to have light. Without light he is weak, faints or has spells of uneasiness and anxiety attacks. But in reality there is a greater mystery to the reason.

 

Your main star who plays the character of Chris is Fabian Wolfrom. He does a fantastic job. Makes you believe his torment. He created and owned his part. A mysterious young man with a past, that we the viewer only get glimpses of but that is the ultimate appeal because it's a mystery and a story in itself.

 

I have to say I love this movie specifically for the awesome make up and special-effects. It's really wild. It does use CGI computer animation at times but it works for what it was. I love the ultimate mutations and the changing and the aspects of creatures.

 

 

The best way to describe this is Night of the Comet mixed with The Purge and a huge dose of pure classic clay, rubber monster creature films.

 

 

This will definitely play out for the fans of Japanese anime. The plot is really never explained in the characters are never flushed in story. It's a straight to the point and it has no slow reality to it. It's short and quick and to the point. It's a wham bam thank you ma'am type of film. It does leave many holes in the subject and you wonder about things but in the end you should just watch it and give up trying to rationalize it or put it into a context.

 

 

The Digital Effects where done by the wonderful company Digital District who had a part in one of my all time favorite films. The mind numbing tour-de-force and reality altering Enter the Void. They create awesome throw back creatures in Dead Shadows. Visually creative and an awesome comic book type reality along an homage to Ray Harryhausen and John Carpenter's The Thing.

 

 

Now what is truly interesting is how I mentioned the posters. Specifically Escape from New York and Indian Jones well there is a tie to those films with Dead Shadows. The same sound designer the amazing and truly gifted Alan Howarth who did the sound design on Escape from New York and Raiders of the Lost Ark, They Live, among others also did Dead Shadows. He is truly a gifted and gives his all to cinema. Also the original music score for Dead Shadows is graced by the wonderful likes of Kevin Riepl, all you gamers will know him from the music of Gears of War.

 

 

My favorite creature and favorite part in the film is the spider woman, truly brilliant, I loved it. I think what David Cholewa has done best was reinvent the creature film. It reminds me of taking all my childhood creature films and dosing it with a modern stamp of action and CGI. I think this needs sequels or prequels to further the story and to further grasp the beauty of creature feature cinema. Something I could see in the direction and story and over all darkness was directors like John Carpenter. The special effects reminded me of the glory of the 80's.

 

 

I also think what is extraordinary is the filming itself. The many locations. The film was filmed in Paris and the dark nature of fog and nighttime and visual effects creating a sky line of artistic beauty is something that bleeds off the screen to the eyes of the viewer.

 

 

This movie is not about being a masterpiece, because yes it's far from it, but what it is, is what it's suppose to be. A fun, wild, comic book laced, H.P. Lovecraft creature feature dark tale of mutations and action fights to survive. It's a true throw back popcorn film for lover's of the 80's. This is for fans of classic Carpenter, classic creature features, Japaneses monster movies and a truly awesome dose of 60's monsters from the deep or from space or from the very recesses of the imagination of children as they dream their fanciful tales of adventure through a darkened time of monsters.

 

 

This is to me a great drive-in creature feature film. No real story but just plain to the point, mutations, action and an end of the world reality.

 

 

Audio/Video: (5/5)

 

 

This is a French film so the movie is subtitled. The audio works in amazing ear opening music, sounds, music score with an ultimate retro vibe of the 80's. The video is crisp and clean and is very colorful with vibrant shots of mutations and blood and gore and ultimate moments of violence.

 

 

Extras: (5/5)

 

 

I loved the interview with the director and the awesome Making of the Special Effects Feature.

 

 

 Making-Of Special Effects Featurette

 

 Deleted Scenes

 

 Interview With Director David Cholewa

 

 Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer

 

Overall: (4/5)

 

 

This Blu-ray is a wonderful put together disc of visual clarity and it also has amazing artwork on the reversible disc insert. Shout Factory did an amazing job of creating another Blu-ray to own for fans of cinema.

 

 

A wonderful independent example for the fans by a fan.

 

 

Overall the movie plays out like a wonderful comic book come to screen. Truly an interesting throwback to the classic science-fiction. This is an awesome modern-day with the end of world scenario, mixing mutations with humans, creating creatures, bloodthirsty type of characters. In the end I thoroughly was entertained for this is like one of those movies you would see at a drive-in, late night ghoul show hosted midnight movie. This actually took me back to my earlier teenage years when I was entertained by over-the-top science-fiction and monster mayhem films.