THE SHADOW MAN is the feature film debut from director Joshua Fraiman and tells the story of the urban legend surrounding a shadowy figure known as the “Hat Man.” The film stars Sarah Jurgens (“iZombie”), Alison Louder (On the Road), Nick Baillie (Turbulence), Adam Tomlinson (Pinkville) Rebecca Amzalag (The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spine), Manuela Casinha (Night Cries) and Celest Chong (“Red Threads”).
The film centers around Rachel Darwin, a woman who is plagued by visions of a dark shadowy entity in the form of a man who wears a tall hat and feeds upon the souls of humans. What starts as nightmares soon turn into reality when she realizes that people throughout the world are experiencing the same terrifying phenomenon. Not sure who to turn to, and concerned that her sanity is breaking, she reaches out to a mysterious stranger who may just hold the key to vanquishing this deadly creature.
Let me start off by saying I love urban legends as well as the stories surrounding shadow people, and specifically that of the “Hat Man” are some of the more fascinating and chilling tales I’ve heard. When I found out that Sony Home Entertainment was releasing a fictional film based off of the experiences people have had with this legend, I was pretty stoked. However, I hate to say this, but THE SHADOW MAN did not do these tales justice. For the 89 minute run-time I sat in awe over just how awful this movie ended up being.
We really need to start by talking about the acting and the script. I haven’t seen any of these actors outside of this film so I can’t attest to their talent in other movies, but in regards to THE SHADOW MAN, it was atrocious. I am convinced that this is partly due to the writing because some of the lines spoken were completely ridiculous. One of my favorite moments (and I don’t mean that in a positive light) was when Rachel was explaining the shadow man’s impact on her as well as the paranoia she felt followed by this amazing line: “I don’t take meds because of some soul-drinking shadow vampire. I have a serotonin imbalance that causes me to experience depression for no reason.” Uh, what? It was so out of place with what was happening in that scene that I just started laughing and this isn’t just one instance in the movie, the entire film is composed of these spectacular moments that make no sense to what is happening within in the movie.
As for the chemistry between the actors there was literally none. It felt forced, unnatural and awkward, so much so that I kept cringing whenever Rachel had to interact with anyone. As for the story itself, I wish writer Adam Tomlinson had focused more on the legend of The Shadow Man as it would have made for a much more intriguing story. In the case of this film, we have a convoluted story with plot points that never really get resolved. For example, Rachel’s husband, Scott (Baillie), tries to rape her because he’s upset that she won’t have sex with him after finding out he cheated on her. Then the mysterious stranger William (Tomlinson), takes pictures of women during AA, which we never get an explanation for, and then suddenly becomes an expert on all things related to shadow men. Rachel becomes so enamored with him that she ends up sleeping with him. So with that said, we have a man that takes unwanted photos of women and another man that tries to rape the lead – none of these get resolved and both of these plot points never needed to happen.
I could go on and on about how much I didn’t like this movie but in all honesty, I have too much work to do. The acting is horrible and the storyline doesn’t do the Shadow Man legend justice. In terms of scares there really wasn’t any and all the unresolved subplots ended up making me angry. I can’t fully recommend this film because I disliked it so much but I won’t tell you not to watch it. If you want a film as background noise in which you don’t have to pay any attention to it, then check out THE SHADOW MAN. However, if you want to save 89 minutes, I suggest watching something else.
THE SHADOW MAN is now available to own on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.