Blu-ray Review: Shadow People

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The phenomenon of “shadow people” has been part of the paranormal lexicon for some time now. With the idea of vaguely humanoid, and often sinister, shapes following us around being clear and easy fodder for horror film, it was really only a matter of time before someone tried to do just that. That’s where “Shadow People”–a copy of which our friends out at Anchor Bay sent over for review–steps in to show us, or at least try to show us, just how scary this idea can be. This one hits stores today, and horror fans everywhere will definitely want in.

“Shadow People” follows a struggling late-night radio host, whose show has been on the outs ratings-wise, but may be about to improve thanks to some unusual reports about shadowy figures. Our late-night voice in the darkness’ reports lead the Centers for Disease Control to send out an investigator to see just what’s going on, and see if it’s related to what’s known as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome. The investigator and the radio host get together and start investigating, but when the investigation turns up some deeply disturbing information about otherworldly entities who kill with the power of fear, the end result will be much more horrifying than anyone expected.

The phenomenon of “shadow people” has been described in the past, with figures like “the hat man” coming up every so often. Thus, the whole thing is called “based on true events”, a label that never fails to raise a red flag or two with me. While the idea is a sound enough one–there’s nothing like taking things that have actually happened, or even just kind of actually happened, and putting them in a movie–it’s also been used somewhat often, mainly because of its effectiveness. “Shadow People” takes things a little farther, citing the name of a viral video, Sleep Study GR16 1971, and what it calls “an actual case of mysterious deaths” to back things up. Plausibility is always the kind of thing that drops a little extra dose of creepy into the proceedings, and given that there’s an actual “sleep study gr16 1971″ on YouTube, that certainly does put that dose of creepy. Also, watch those candles on the floor in the first five minutes for a nifty surprise.

The end result is not only scary, but it’s also quite frightening. There are some good jump scares, and some good foreboding bits here, allowing for both long and short term scares to hit. The overall effect is part horror movie, part documentary, and all unsettling.

Special features will be a bit on the limited side, as we mostly just get a choice of English or Spanish subtitles and a special featurette entitled “Shadow People: More to the Story”.

“Shadow People” is a fun, shocking little romp that’s got a few clever little surprises thrown in for variety, a surprisingly believable plotline, and an excellent execution. The overall effect? Horror fans, grab a copy. It’s too good to pass up.


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