The Miracle of Life (2013)
Afgelopen zomer kreeg ik tijdens mijn vakantie een leuke email. 
Hellraiser (1987)
Frank Cotton is een man op zoek naar het ultieme genot.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Sally en haar invalide broer Franklin willen de vakantie doorbrengen in het verlaten huisje van hun grootouders. 
Candyman (1992)
Laatstejaarsstudente Helen Lyle maakt samen met haar vriendin Bernadette een thesis over stadslegendes. 
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Vier tieners hebben allen afschuwelijke nachtmerries waarin dezelfde figuur centraal staat. 


The Shadow of Death - English Review (2012)

The Shadow of Death - English Review (2012)

Gav Chuckie Steel
Craving for a new batch of weed, Nancy is obligated to contact her former boyfriend Dan. 

To make matters worse, he’s run out as well. They both decide heading over to Devil’s Jump, a nearby forest where they should find a local dealer. However, Nancy isn’t really keen on taking this trip solely accompanied by Dan, so she asks her roommates Debra en Jamie to come along. Both are a little hesitant to say the least, but they don’t want to disappoint their best friend and agree nonetheless. What they couldn’t have known is that it’s going to be a very dangerous trip! A dark individual roams the woods and he’s only there to drench its soil with blood.

The Shadow of Death is the debut film of Gav Chuckie Steel. Though his name won’t ring a bell (just yet), he’s clearly a huge fan of the fantastic genre and you’ll quickly agree when watching this flick. Gav is not only the driving force behind Deadbolt Films, he also wrote and shot Shadow. On top of that, guess who directed, edited and composed the music? Right, Steel did all of this himself. Clearly a lot of work to do considering he had nearly no money at his disposal. He used a simple Panasonic SD60 to shoot the entire film, that kinda says it all. However, he approached every single aspect with a lot of passion!

If you thought the story didn’t really seem ‘fresh’, you’re absolutely right! On the other hand, that wasn’t what Gav was trying to accomplish. As a fan, he wanted to entertain other fans with an old-fashioned slasher. You know what I’m talking about: one where looking at the killings and their resulted pools of blood is far more interesting than trying to find out who the killer is and what his motives are. Shadow works because its bodycount is satisfying and I enjoyed watching the obvious ‘victims’ getting killed off one by one. Favourite scene by far is the one in which an eye is removed out of its socket. Like the movie in its entirety, this was done in and old school fashion: no CGI here boys and girls! Gav contacted his close friend Mark Kelly, who was part of the SFX-crew for the upcoming World War Z, to take care of the practical effects and he gave it his all.

So obviously the gore-aspect is a plus. Personally, I had a slightly harder time enjoying the humour in this movie. There are times where a bloody segment is immediately followed with a bit of comedic relieve as to balance the previous couple of minutes. This formula gets a bit repetitive as the movie goes on, though I have to admit it got me grinning a couple of times. That said, I’m sure it works better when you are not watching Shadow alone but in a theatre with other horror enthusiasts!

When reading the synopsis, you might sense that Gav needed to come up with a way to stretch the story to finally end up with a runtime of 81 minutes. While writing, he decided to add a couple of ‘ghost stories’ in the mix that at first might seem a bit off but help out the basic plot near the end. However, viewers who are familiar with the genre will pretty soon track down the identity of the killer. Once this mystery gets unravelled, there’s a chance that Shadow will loosen its grip on you.

Despite that fact, the movie still holds enough beauty and energy to keep you entertained. The cinematography for instance is pretty good and constantly shows us Gav’s know-how. The opening scene provides a good example: shot amazingly well and clearly influenced by the Italian cinema. Secondly, I was very pleased that the actors are solid in this flick. Every last one of them embodied enough ‘pizazz’ to really own their character. So much so that I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of their faces again in a future edition of the Frightfest Film Festival.

The Shadow of Death should be considered a textbook example how to correctly approach and execute a low-budget movie. Gav clearly knew what he was doing and, although a lot of blood, sweat and tears had to be involved in making this film, should be proud of his dedication in realizing his dream. I for one thoroughly enjoyed it.


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