You’ll have to roll with some changes in this Italian horror import, but ultimately, I think it’s worth it to do so.
Shadow begins as a fairly standard-issue case of strangers beware, before shifting gears about halfway through into a nasty bit of torture porn, and finally revealing itself in a Twilight Zone-meets-Dalton Trumbo finale.
David (Jake Muxworthy), an American soldier recently returned from the front lines of Afghanistan, decides a bicycle trip through a remote patch of Eastern Europe will help him unwind.
He meets a pretty fellow cyclist (Karin Testa) who invites him in to share her tent, and soon both are on the run from a pair of bloodthirsty poachers. (Ottaviano Blitch and Chris Coppola).
But wait! There’s more! After a few skirmishes, David and the poachers find themselves the unwilling guests of the evil Mortis (Nuot Arquint), a bony, bald albino with a penchant for inflicting pain—which he does.
And then there’s a twist ending that actually works for me.
What Shadow has going for it is devilishly effective tension escalation. Circumstances get increasingly grim without deteriorating into a pointless bloody mess, and Mortis has to be one of the creepiest kooks to come along in a long time.
Some of you will not care for the conclusion, but I appreciated the “one last surprise” card being played. Rather than a rip-off, I consider it a rather creative solution.
See for yourself. I doubt you’ll be disappointed, because this trip is a trip.