Thursday, December 7, 2006

Shadows (2005)

Years ago, in an isolated mansion, a woman called Lady Jane found her husband and her sister having an affair. In a jealous rage, she stabbed them both with a large butcher knife. To this day her ghost still stalks the halls, looking for more cheating couples to exact her revenge on. In present day, a college parapsychology class spends a weekend in the mansion and records any paranormal activity they experience. Their professor, Julie, has a strong belief in the paranormal, while their other professor, Paul, is a skeptic. Still, both want to see the effect the house has on their students. Their students include happy couple John and Heather, quarreling couple Richard and Debbie, the class slut Stevie, the loner chick Angel, sensitive hippie chick Star and instructional aides Benny and Bobby. Each person has his or her own hidden agenda as to why they are there. Will the group find any evidence that Lady Jane exists or is what they witness all in their heads? Will past and present secrets destroy the group before Lady Jane gets to them?

I have to give this film props for accomplishing what it set out to do, which is be a commercially viable flick. It looks pretty slick for a low-budget film, with pretty high production values. Unfortunately, there's nothing new here except for a cool parapsychology/hypnotherapy twist that does little to make up for the blandness of the rest of the movie. This movie isn't horrible, but I've seen it all before and it left me quite bored.

It takes about an hour into the movie for anything to actually happen. Before that all we get are flashbacks of the Lady Jane murders, people jumping at things they see through windows/mirrors and visions of a stabbed man on the lawn. The kids have time to relax, have some margaritas, do a little skinny dipping and even have a frickin' makeover before any of the real action actually starts. Most of the time I felt like I was watching a teen comedy romp with all the drama and nudity.

I wouldn't even call Shadows a horror movie; it is more like a light psychological thriller that features a bunch of stereotypical college-age (though they act like high schoolers) kids. About the only thing I did like was the hypnotherapy twist at the end, which was the only thing fresh about this movie.

Overall, a pretty boring, unoriginal story that moves at a snail's pace before getting to the goods but would probably play well to more mainstream audiences.

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