Dead Shadows (2012) [Blu-ray]

Director Dave Cholewa’s “Dead Shadows” is HP Lovecraft meets “Night of the Comet,” and while surely that sounds like the ingredients for an amazing horror film, in the end it’s just a serviceable post apocalyptic horror thriller. It’s by no means a waste of time, but it never delivers on a lot of its ideas and story themes. Much of the concepts and sub-plots feel very under developed and half baked, with “Dead Shadows” unfolding in a very inexplicable series of events. I tried my best to follow along, but Cholewa really offers horror audiences a convoluted narrative for a movie that boils down to shooting aliens and monsters in the dark.

Chris witnessed the murder of his mother at the hands of his father, who then killed himself during one fateful night when Haley’s Comet was seen from Earth. Years later, he is alienated to his apartment and garners an odd light dependence where he requires bright light to keep him healthy. There’s yet another comet destined to pass by Earth, so close that everyone on the planet can see it in all it glory, but he’s anxious to seal the deal with a girl he’s been fond of for quite some time. Much of “Dead Shadows” is really a let down, considering it spends so much time to build up to the carnage that ensues. The film clocks in at a little under eighty minutes, and the real plot progression occurs forty minutes in to the story. Also much of what is happening to character Chris is almost never explained. It’s hinted that perhaps he’s an alien, or maybe is the reason for this alien invasion.

He has black outs where he becomes this violent individual, and then he begins forming this black spot along his stomach that he’s very concerned with. He also is prone to passing out. By the time the finale rears its head, I wasn’t just confused, but I was completely dumb founded. What was Chris? Is he the ruler of the aliens invading Earth? Is he the only one that can stop the alien invasion? Was he taken over by an alien during his boyhood and has finally lost control of it? Much of what occurs with Chris is just so odd and completely under developed. One of the highlights of the film is John Fallon who plays an aggressive neighbor who not only senses the alien invasion beforehand, but is prepared to go to war when the shit hits the fan. Fallon really fits the character well, and I was disappointed he didn’t garner much more screen time. Director Cholewa is also a fantastic director, creating a real menace to the city of Paris, especially when the invasion begins.

He makes this land not only look terrifying but absolutely horrifying, slowly converting it in to alien stomping grounds when it becomes all too apparent that the aliens are winning the war. As for the aliens, Cholewa keeps most of them shrouded in darkness, relying more on the humans that have become freaky rage infested monsters with deformed limbs, and it works so well. The human hybrids are terrifying enough, but the monsters that Cholewa concocts are just mind blowing. Especially during one scene where Chris passes out on the street. That said, it feels like “Dead Shadows” could have added ten minutes more for exposition as the film ends on a very abrupt scene that I had a difficult time watching. I’m not sure what really unfolds in the finale, but it’s abrupt, and fails to satisfy. That said, “Dead Shadows” is definitely worth a watch if you’re in to post apocalyptic alien invasion films. I can’t wait to see what director Cholewa brings us in the future.

The Blu-Ray from Scream Factory comes packed with some interesting bells and whistles. There’s a Making Of Special Effects featurette for fans of the CGI and prosthetic effects the film pulled off. There’s also a slew of deleted scenes, as well as an interesting interview with Director David Cholewa, who discusses why he went from film distribution to film direction. There’s also the theatrical and teaser trailer for “Dead Shadows.”

In Stores April 29th from Scream Factory.