A high security prison just got a new trouble-maker in. He speaks a language they can't recognize, and his chest is sporting a weird triangle tattoo. At first he just seems like any other prisoner, but out of nowhere he starts performing a sort of ritual. At the end of the ritual the prisoner has transformed into a huge hellish beast.
I'm sure any horror fan will recognize themselves when I said I bought this movie simply because it was silly cheap. I knew from the look of it that it would be terrible, and I was sure I wouldn't watch it for a long time after buying it, but I just had to get it. It was there - available and cheap. And I've had it for the longest time without even considering watching it, until today when I got inspired by Preston to watch some absolute junk. My hand knew exactly where in the shelf I had what could only be expected to be the junk I needed.
The movie started out pretty damn awesome. Within the first minutes we had boobies, plenty of blood, and a good shot of the beast. Needless to say I was very satisfied, especially since it seemed to just aim for those key ingredients. But then it quickly changed location to a prison, and I just knew that the movie would stay there. I'm usually one to get bored of prison or similar locations within a movie like this, one where I just want to have fun. I didn't go into this to see "Shawshank Redemption", did I?
The story in "Shapeshifter" is basicly about this foreign, mysterious prisoner who after a ritual transforms into a beast, much influenced in its style by the famous Lucifer. We have a young woman who is working her first night at this maximum security prison, and some other prisoners who all play a big part in the upcoming attempts for survival. There is some more light shed on it during the movie but that's the gist of it.
It was never expected from the movie to deliver a good story or even thrills, and that's fine. The problem with this movie is that the filmmakers seem to have watched horror movies and just done what they saw done in others. Not ripping off directly, but taking the shallow ideas without getting into why they worked in certain films. What we're left with is a shitty horror movie that thinks it's great simply because it does what successful films have done. "Shapeshifter" doesn't come off as a good movie, fine, but it doesn't even come off as fun, entertaining, silly, so-bad-it's-good, or over-the-top. None of the key ingredients for an entertaining monster movie are used.
"But there's gore and boobs, right?" Yes, there is some gore. It did manage to have a good dark color to it, but the guts look like roots painted red, and that's basicly what most of the gore consists of. The boobies are just present in the beginning and that's all there is. Although, for whatever random reason our lead woman decides to take off her security shirt and run around in a white top instead. If that's all you need to get excited, then you're lucky! As for other effects, mostly the beast itself, it's... I don't know. Unsatisfying? Bland? The demon looks like a hairy Satan. And while it could look worse, it's still not used carefully as they just put that monster in bright lighting through the entire film, giving us way too much time to grow tired of the cheap costume and fake-looking hair.
"Shapeshifter" is filled with horror movie clichées, stereotypical characters, a poor plot, lacking effects, terrible editorial and directorial decisions, and maybe worst of all - a lack of tata's. It's a bad movie that deserves the low price it had, I would've been angry at myself had I paid more for it. We need horror movies like these sometimes to appreciate the entertainment value that some carry. "Shapeshifter" had a moment of entertainment in the beginning and then it's gone.