Bud Spencer reviews, it is time to slide back into our normal weird reviews. Let’s focus on (throws dart into a map of the world on the wall)…France! The land of liberty, equality, and fraternity (thank you, Wikipedia) has been a hotspot for horror in the 21st century. Filmmakers like Marina de Van, Gasper Noe, Pascal Laugier, Xavier Gens, and the directing duo of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury have contributed to the French Horror New Wave in ways that, for better or worse, have redefined French frissons. Hell, even Alexandre Aja stumbled into success with wholly unoriginal material (one day, he promises, he won’t adapt a book or do a remake). So when a cool looking monster flick from France titled DEAD SHADOWS (2012) appeared on our radar, we figure we would give it a shot.
The film opens with a massive comet heading toward Earth. (English press materials on this film refer to it as Halley’s Comet, but the film never specifies this.) As it sails over a two story French home, it awakens scared-of-the-dark kid Chris. His father pops in to assure him everything is okay and then the parents head downstairs to check out some strange sounds. Oddly, this somehow turns into a fight about their sissy son (“Are you sure he’s even my son?”) and, when Chris arrives at the kitchen, he sees dad standing over mom with a knife. Cut to ten years later and the now grown Chris (Fabian Wolfrom) is living on his own in Paris and is apparently the world’s most annoying computer technical support person. He doesn’t have time to work as today marks the return of the comet to Earth and everyone is excited for it. In addition to not working, he also has time to spy on his neighbor Claire (Blandine Marmigère), who has just thrown out her cheating boyfriend. Yes!
A top secret look at Video Junkie headquarters:
worries as Claire is now here. While Claire is getting her party on, Chris notices the rash-faced man at the party and sees him take a girl into a bedroom. Spying on the couple, he sees the man insert a tentacle in her doggy style and it shoots out of her mouth. Sacré bleu! He bolts to the bathroom, just in time to watch Laure’s face melt off. Chris dashes back to his apartment (because warning anyone there would be too much effort apparently) and gets back right as the power goes down citywide. Naturally, he must do one thing – pass out! But not before seeing some weird ass tentacles crawl out of his closet. When Chris wakes up, the bullies from earlier in the day – navigating the stairwells with a camera on night vision - burst into his apartment. He wipes them out by some unknown means (you’ve probably got it figured out by now) and soon teams up with heavily armed John to get out of the apartment building. Will our hero conquer his fear of the dark? And, more importantly, will he validate his declaration of “I must get to Claire” in the chaos? You know, because a girl he met just a few hours ago is the most important thing in the world.
new beau is a vicious killer. Yes, for some reason Chris felt the need to bring the camera from the men he killed along only for the narrative to have this scene. Even worse, this opens up the idea about what exactly Chris is. Was he infected as a kid? Were his parents infected? We’ll never know as the filmmakers never bother to sufficiently explain this. Hell, I doubt they even knew. I’m not asking for a detailed explanation, but at least act like you know what is going on. They put as much thought into the film as they did their title. Seriously, could you come up with a more generic (and less descriptive) title than DEAD SHADOWS? The lack of a well thought out screenplay (the film’s end credits start at 70 minutes) is doubly disappointing when you see some of the cool creatures on display. There is one half woman/half crab thing (see pic to the left) that is very impressive. Why is it there? Probably because the director said, “That would be cool to have in there!” The premise of tentacle monsters/aliens taking over Paris is ripe for the taking/making. Hell, I bet some guy in Japan just got excited by me even typing that sentence. Sadly, that film badass film you imagined in your head just now is not this film.