This week, Anchor Bay unveils this paranormal thriller on blu-ray and DVD, and I was really intrigued and had a lot of fun with this one. I’m not quite sure how much of it is actually based on truth, but sleep paralysis and Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome are documented, and in fact served not only for the basis of this film, but of course the classic Wes Craven film A Nightmare On Elm Street.
I tried to research some of the items and names in the film, but I couldn’t seem to find much. Despite that, I found the film really engaging and there are a lot of fun little jump moments. I would have wanted a little more than a 89 minute run time, and maybe a little bit more investigation of these ‘Shadow People,’ but it was a lot of fun.
The film follows a late night radio talk show host Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts) as he becomes embroiled in a terrifying world where people are dying in their sleep, for no known reason.
When he takes a call from a troubled young man who tells them that once you think of them, you see them, and once they see you, the Shadow People come for you. The phone call ends with the young man claiming he can see them and a shattering gun shot is heard. We learn he’s fine but rushed to the hospital for shock, fatigue and observation. Once there he dies from an unknown cause while he was asleep.
Charlie has been left with a package of information detailing S.U.N.D.S. and more about these spooky beings. And of course, now that he knows about them, and is thinking about them… They begin appearing to him, which leads to some rather spooky moments as any shadow can become something else. Which leads to a nice little scene of Charlile clearing his house out of anything that can cast a shadow, and leaving all of his lights on. I can’t blame him, if I was seeing these things, I wouldn’t want anything that could cast a shadow in my place either!
All through it, Charlie is trying to decide whether he should exploit it this for his show, to increase his ratings, or simply leave it all alone. He’s also trying to connect with his young son, who lives with his ex-wife and her new beau.
Helping him out is a CDC agent, Sophie Lacombe (Alison Eastwood) investigating the possibility that this is being caused by a virus.
Whether or not you buy into the idea of shadow people or not, sleep paralysis is true, I’ve had one incident myself a long time ago when I was living in Halifax, that was totally creepy.
Honestly, I just loved the idea of these people existing, and that people had seen different types of them. Charlie’s final experience is wonderfully creepy, but the final act is a little anti-climatic, though that is amended with a little moment part way through the final credits, make sure you watch them.
To make the film unique it moves between horror film, and the ‘documentary’ genre, with ‘interviews’ with the actual people portrayed in the film, as well as ‘archival’ footage. Like I said though, I tried to run some of the names down, but couldn’t find them… so walk away from that with what you will. Still, it helps to create a reality for the film.
What has been created is an interesting take on the S.U.N.D.S., and wonderfully spooky.
If you buy into the reality suggested by the film, you can have a lot of fun with it.
Shadow People is available on blu-ray and DVD today!