A soldier dreams of going mountain biking in Europe when he gets back from Iraq. When he finally gets the chance to do so, he sees a girl being harassed by two hunters. After telling them off, they get angry. It leads to him and the girl being chased. But that's only until they reach the Shadow pass, and they all become hunted by whatever lives there.
I was actually quite interested in this Italian production when I got the DVD - not so much the images, but rather because I hadn't heard of it, and it was rather hard to know exactly what it would be about. Torture? Yet at times it sounds more like a typical killer/monster type flick. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Still skeptical, as I usually am with horror movies nowadays. The enthusiasm that I had growing up, where every horror movie was gonna be awesome (and often were), is simply gone. Here lies a grumpy young man! But I am confident in my opinion, and through this website I think I have given a good idea of what like-minded will like and dislike. With "Shadow", I quite honestly can't say what like-minded will think, but my guess is that it will be somewhere in between. Which is my opinion...
In starts off in rather typical fashion, with someone on a trip, and they stumble upon rotten people. In this case it's a soldier who gets to live his dream by mountain biking in Europe. And when he's taking a break in a cabin, he witnesses two hunters being obnoxious towards a woman and intervenes. These two don't take kindly to people who intervene! So they start chasing him out of that place. Later that night, when he is about to set camp for the night, his tent is rendered useless. Lucky for him, the girl he was kind enough to protect in the cabin happens to see him and lets him sleep with her. The next day they stumble upon these hunters again, and yet again they manage to make them upset. This time they are literally hunted - with a car and guns. Soon the chase reaches the Shadow pass, and this is where the hunter's hunt stops, and a different hunt begins. Something evil is living there, and it soon has them all captured.
I was relieved when I realized the torturers (since the cover clearly stated it was a torture flick) weren't the hunters. That would've bugged me, not because they were annoying characters but because I wanted something slightly different. And different I got - the person torturing them is a skinny little creative weirdo. I mean, it still offers the same-old-same-old, but it's not the hunters doing it. It takes a few odd turns here and there through the ride, but it's not until the ending that it really spins things around.
SHUT YOUR EYES NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ A SEMI-SPOILER!
The ending is a complete contrast from the rest of the movie, but the main problem is that it has been done before. And much better. Two titles I can think of that did it pretty well are "Jacob's Ladder" (pretty well is an understatement here) and "Reeker". Hell, even "Graveyard Disturbance", which didn't even go that route, did it better. Only people who have seen that one will know what I mean... So I guess in this case the ending didn't work, even though a few hints helped the puzzle, it was still not a desired twist. In the end it didn't hurt either, because it still stayed somewhere inbetween. Never fantastic, never terrible.
Some people will hate "Shadow", some people will think it's a great horror movie. But I think many will agree when I say it's rather bland. It really wants to do a few things differently, and there are moments where it succeeds. In the end it just doesn't save it, however. The horror genre is really tough to be part of, because everyone gives it a shot and most things have been done. It's not a huge loss to have made a bland horror movie, as long as you can realize it yourself, and learn from it. If you've bought "Shadow" then you can at least rest assured that there are so many worse films out there. And maybe you'll dig it, even.