“The following motion picture is based on an actual case of mysterious deaths and the viral video known as ‘Sleep Study GR16 1971.’”
- ‘Shadow People,’ Opening Statement
Whether or not you believe that Shadow People is based on actual unexplained events is totally beside the point. It’s the idea that’s a good one, writer/director Matthew Arnold combining elements of The Ring, American Splendor and a ‘found footage’ shocker in order to craft his motion picture. Revolving around the very real concept of Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS), the movie is intriguing amalgam of genres and ideas, and as such can’t help but pique a genre fan’s interest right from the start.
Pity the movie doesn’t do anything of interest with itself, and while both Dallas Roberts and Alison Eastwood are fine in their respective roles (he’s a radio shock jock who learns of SUNDS and of mysterious ‘shadow people’ infecting the nightmares of his listeners, she’s a CDC investigator skeptical anything remotely supernatural is going on), him in particular, the movie itself never does a decent enough job at crafting suspense or three-dimensional characters worthy of caring about to make their efforts matter.
Interspersed throughout are clips and bits of archival footage of supposed ‘real’ people talking about and dealing with the situations depicted within the ‘fictional’ part of the film. These are admittedly intriguing, Arnold creating a documentary-like atmosphere that’s easy to become interested in. But these sequences fit uneasily with the other half of the motion picture, the uneasy alliance between the supposed real and the plainly fictional shaky to be sure.
The big problem is that the movie just isn’t scary. It’s premise might be interesting, but dramatically it’s rather inert, and as good as Roberts is (he invests himself fully into the proceedings, making a more believable protagonist then the movie actually deserves) he’s not enough to enliven the proceedings to make the watching of the whole thing close to worthwhile. It ends badly, not rising to the occasion as it should, and by the time Shadow People came to its climax I’d almost forgotten what it was about it that got me interested in the first place.
Shadow People is presented on a single-layer 25GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.40:1 1080p transfer.
This Blu-ray features an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack and features optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Extras here include:
· Shadow People: More to the Story (12:34)
That’s it, this short featurette a collection of brief interview clips discussing some of the ideas presented within the movie. It’s okay, nothing more, and doesn’t exactly add anything of weight or merit to the story being told within the motion picture itself at all.
Shadow People offers up a nice idea and interesting presentation, sadly it doesn’t deliver upon its potential instead becoming nothing more than a mildly intriguing bore that hardly satiates one’s initial curiosities.