Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cambodian Night Terrors in Baton Rouge, or Thoughts on the Shadow People

Reminiscent of the original waking up dead movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Shadow People (2013) begins with a prequel in Cambodia, referencing “Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome”, an actual medical condition prevalent in Southeast Asia.  Written and directed by Matthew Arnold, this taut and compact indie supernatural thriller features Dallas Roberts, who you may remember as Milton from The Walking Dead (boy did I hate Andrea when she chose The Governor over Michonne), as Charlie Crowe, a late night Louisiana radio talk show host.
The radio show narrative is a nice touch; radio has a rich storytelling history, from Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater production of The War of The Worlds (1938) to the Canadian zombie apocalypse broadcasted in Pontypool (2008), radio has been used to tell the audience the story, rather than having the filmmakers show us.  It’s different than ghost stories around the campfires, and Shadow People begins with a caller telling Charlie about his sleep paralysis and the mysterious black figures watching him from the corners.
The movie is loaded with fake Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos in a clever blending of found footage and traditional filmmaking.  The actual filming of the nightmarish shadow people is a very easy, dare I say cheap effect that is used sparingly.  The movie spends a lot of time trying to rationalize shadow people, citing radio waves and colors outside of our visual range in a sci-fi, X-Files explanation that seems superfluous and unnecessary.  Nightmare shadow people are scary enough, and easy enough for an audience to relate to, anything more becomes distracting.
With Alison Eastwood, (yes, that Eastwood, Clint’s daughter) as Sophie Lacombe, a CDC investigator.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).