Sunday, September 25, 2011

HALLOWEENAGE #2: THE SHADOW PEOPLE (2011)

Prologue: My friend and I had dinner at this Indian restaurant before seeing this film and his Bengali girlfriend harangued us via text about choosing "Indian food for shada [white] people".  Shada?  Shadow?  So there followed dreaming about how SHADOW PEOPLE might be an anti-Caucasian propaganda film, like a Bengali TRIUMPH OF THE WILL.  But it wasn't.  It was...something else.

I wish I could just play you the exchange of baffled reactions and laughter as we walked to the car.  I think the easiest approach is just a straight retelling with GIMP art because I can't get screenshots from a horror con movie.  So.

Movie begins with handheld shots that will remind you of PARANORMAL ACT, etc., but the acting here is pretty decent!  A van full of youngs encounter something that looks like a wendigo, then stop at a bonfire and are attacked by a bunch of shirtless men ("almost like a gathering!"), all sporting horrid triangle tattoos on their shirtless backs.  MAIN TITLE/CREDITS.  Now we switch to proper film.  The aspect ratio at the screening was all screwed, which made every automobile look like this—
—which made me laugh hard, every single time a car was on the screen.  Anyway, the girl who owned the camera was the sole survivor of the shirtless-man attack and emerged from a coma nine months later.  Turns out she's been SLEEPWALKING during her coma!  Or SLEPTWALKING, as the movie would have it.  After a montage of doctors being jerks (a nurse JOKES that she might go into another coma if she goes to sleep, LOLOLOLOL), Bethany, the girl, is released to the care of her grandpa, the former mayor.
That is a fair beard portrayal.  He tells Bethany that he's invited this kid James to live with them because his parents died and he's working at an antiques store and blah blah, et al.  You can check the art below, but, if you want a solid visual, just watch an episode of The Mighty Boosh and look for Vince Noir.  That's James!
Bethany dislikes him at first, until he takes her to his antique job, whence she is yelled at by some dolls and plates, then he takes her to lunch and keeps reminding her that she was in a coma.  Between the antiques screaming at her and the nightmares, Bethany's worried, so she visits the local gypsy named Yurim who lives in an attic.  Yurim informs Bethany that, according to the Book of Satan, she's set to be the mother of the Antichrist.  There are three ways to prevent this from occurring: the mom can die; she can get pregnant with a normal human baby first; or another way, which the movie never gets around to telling us about.

DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A LOT OF PLOT?  It isn't, really, when you consider that SHADOW PEOPLE is almost TWO AND ONE HALF HOURS LONG.

And now Bethany gets physically attacked, IN A COLLEGE BUILDING with class in session, by a man wearing a pillowcase and wielding a chain, in a chase scene that has to span at least 5 kilometers.  AND NO ONE IS AROUND!  The girl who has been in a coma for nine months has the cardiovascular endurance to sprint down every hall in the Psychology building!  Which are devoid of even one single student.  Words fail. 

I am starting to develop a brain tumor, but let me add that the tape Bethany used to document the shirtless man attack is found at a Catholic church by a policeman who happens to attend mass, SO that means that no one has attended mass during the nine months of her coma?  Who knows, but now we have to watch Bethany and her friends get kidnapped by kidnappers playing dubstep in a HEARSE, followed by an escape and 10K more of running!  And there's a Bethany monologue that sounds like a the Moby Dick of Hallmark cards and a conclusion that doesn't really resolve ANYTHING.  Perfecto.

This was oh so much fun.  It's flawed and overlong, obv, but, if a judicious editor put most of the running and the stair scenes on the cutting room floor, this would make a fine night of insanity for you and several friends.  IMDB says that it was filmed for $2000!!!, so that in itself is quite an achievement.  It was easily the crown jewel of the Saturday Scarefest screenings.  Beautiful insanity.

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