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Shadows of the Dead (2004)

Well be together, til the end.

Rating: 1/10

Running Time: 92 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18


On the official website for ‘Shadows of the Dead’, writer-director Carl Lindbergh pleads with reviewers to bear in mind the film’s barrel-scrapingly low budget of $25,000 before being too harsh. Certainly, such crippling lack of funds can explain the shoogly camerawork, polystyrene-looking sets and High School production-style acting. But, what this reviewer would like to know is, what’s his excuse for the laughably bad dialogue, turgid pacing, and painfully uneventful plotline?

It’s hardly surprising Mr Lindbergh is so defensive of his film. After all, nobody likes to see their work trashed. I mean, writing a 90-minute film in which practically nothing happens must be a tough enough task in itself, but given the fact that the guy also went to the trouble of both producing AND directing it, it’s little wonder he now feels a little protective of his baby. But, sadly, there truly is no escaping the fact that ‘Shadows of the Dead’ is easily one of the worst films I’ve ever seen – and it has nothing to do with budget.

It’s about two young love-birds called John and Jennifer (Jonathan Flanigan and Beverly Hynds) who get into a spot of bother when their car breaks down in the woods. Thinking they’ve spotted a dead body lying by the side of the road, John gets out to investigate, and ends up getting bitten on the neck. They decide to make a run for it (thankfully they’re a bit quicker on their feet than they are at thinking) and take refuge in a nearby log cabin. But, when John’s heart stops beating, they decide it might be time to go to the local hospital. And, what’s more, they manage to come up with that idea all by themselves!

From there on in things take a distinct turn for the worse, with the two of them inexplicably fleeing the hospital and setting up home back at the cabin, where Jennifer too becomes infected and, together, they turn into the most miserable, whiney pair of vampire-zombies in celluloid history. Seriously, if they think the transformation they’re going through is painful, they should try watching it.

The lack of action, gore or high-pitched screaming might set it apart from crowd-pleasers like Cabin Fever and 28 Days Later, but what it does have in common with practically every other horror movie is that old staple of the genre, the idiotic decision. When they decide to leave the safety of the car and make a run for it, why don’t they follow the road instead of darting off into the forest? Why, given their perfectly legitimate story and the obvious bite-marks on John’s neck, don’t they tell the police? Why don’t they return to the hospital when it becomes obvious that their conditions are deteriorating? And, more to the point, why did they run away from medical assistance in the first place?

Brought to us by the appropriately-named “No One Cares Productions”, ‘Shadows of the Dead’ is quite simply a load of tripe. I’m certainly not against cheap, badly-made horror flicks: in fact, they can often be a Helluva lot more fun than the more polished examples (just check out Decoys for evidence of that). But this is a cheap, badly-made horror flick which makes the gargantuan error of taking itself seriously. It’s as if Lindbergh truly believes he’s showing us something original, innovative and thought-provoking here – when, in actual fact, all he’s showing us is just how skull-crushingly dull the medium of film can be when the people responsible truly put their minds to it.

It's Got: A lead character without a pulse! Sitting watching the film, I knew exactly how he felt.

It Needs: To be completely different in practically every department.

DVD Extras Trailers for four almost-as-bad-looking horror-flicks: ‘Eternal Blood’, ‘Near Death’, ‘Parasite’, and ‘Puppet Master: The Legacy’. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


One of the worst horror movies around – without a shadow of a doubt.