I JUST SAW… Shadow (Italy, 2009)

I can’t believe that it took me 3 years to review my first Italian horror movie! That’s probably because Shadow (2009) happens to be the only decent horror flick my home country produced in the 2000s.

In fact, Shadow (2009) is more than just ‘decent’.

Shadow featureThe story revolves David (Jake Muxworthy), a former German soldier who ventures on the Alpes to mountain-bike and randomly encounters a girl – Angeline (Karina Testa) – who does the same, thus they decide to keep exploring the area together.

When they briefly stop at a lodge, David and Angeline are harassed by two hunters who begin tormenting them. This is the start of a cat-and-mouse game which leads the four characters on uncharted territories, where they might find there’s something even more dangerous in the woods of these mountains.

If the plot sounds promising to you, check out the movie, but don’t watch the trailer: it looks terribly wrenched!

Shadow, however, is a damn good movie in comparison to its low budget. The film takes a while to get things going, but when it does, it’s certainly rewarding.

Shadow 3In comparison to my other I JUST SAW… flicks, this one hasn’t got any aspect that sets him apart from movies that belong to the same subgenre. Shadow is very much a horror movie that everyone can enjoy: the story is straightforward, there are a few jump-scares and the gore is there but never off-putting enough to discourage mainstream viewers.

Although my description might make Shadow look like nothing special, this film has features that make me enjoy it more than most conventional slasher flicks.

For example, the setting: every scene is shot on location, which enhances the realism of the story. Plus, Austrian and Italian Alpes are simply amazing and the filmmakers did an amazing job at creating a sombre, dark atmosphere.

Federico Zampaglione – who wrote, directed and supervised the cinematography of Shadow – pays homage to the slasher sub-genre that inspired his vision and does that in a mature and convincing way.

Fun fact: Zampaglione is also the lead of a famous Italian pop-band which… kinda sucks in my opinion!

Back to the movie. Another aspect I really appreciate about Shadow consists of the villains. Both the assailants and ‘the shadow’ are threatening and scary, in very different ways.

Shadow 2Due to their dreadful presence, every sequence – from the middle of the movie until the end – is truly intense and suspenseful. In fact, in my opinion this movie is rather scary for slasher standards.

As per flaws, there are a few inconsistencies here and there; the pace isn’t always balanced – actually, the first 30/35 minutes are a bit too slow; the ending should’ve been more effective but it left me quite indifferent.

In conclusion, don’t expect a masterpiece, but if you’re into straight-up slasher flicks with, perhaps, a slice of social commentary about PTSD, you should check out Shadow.

Shadow       7/10

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