10th Mar2021

‘Shadowland’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Amelia Eve, Rebecca Finch, Vivien Taylor, Stuart Daly, Tony Greengrass, Jason Harvey, Lily Cooper, Colin MacDougall, Keenan Ben, Susan Coyle | Written and Directed by Simon Kay

If you ask horror fans to name some Scottish horror films, they probably wouldn’t have a long list ready. That said, you could count The Descent, Dog Soldiers and The Wicker Man on the list so there aresome great movies in there. Could Shadowland place its name among them?

The biggest talking point about Shadowland, both before you see it and after, is that one of its leads is Amelia Eve. If that name rings any bells, that’s because she played Jamie in Mike Flanagan’s brilliant Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor. And she was superb in one of the lead roles in that show so it’s quite a coup to get her starring in your new low-budget horror thriller movie. Unfortunately, even Eve can’t make much good out of Shadowland. She puts in a decent performance for the most part but the movie is poor and it’s hard to see anyone make it otherwise. Eve tries her best and is confident throughout but she’s not given a whole lot to work with.

The actors around her aren’t awful either but the script gets them shouting and swearing a lot while pointing guns at each other or things in the background but rarely shooting them. This leads to much overacting. The editing is, like much of Shadowland, just all over the place. For large parts of the movie it is edited like a trailer or a music video. Where the music is loud and fast-paced to coincide with the action on screen but the volume of anything happening on screen, like any speech is kept low. This is a slight shame because some of the musical score is decent but it just gets lost in the shuffle.

There’s also what feels like a cut every couple of seconds and it’s really hard to keep up with. It also gives you no time to take in or enjoy anything. This is part of the reason that it feels like parts of the story don’t go anywhere or have a proper ending. And the same can be said for the film as a whole which ends up feeling incomplete. Light plays an important part in Shadowland but this also means that the lighting is bad too. Many times everything is too dark to see things properly and others the light is just placed brightly in the wrong places.

I feel like I should warn anybody that is thinking about watching this movie that there it includes the murder of a baby. It is a completely unnecessary moment which feels completely out of place with the rest of the movie. And although the camera pans away for the actual movement, the sound makes it clear what has just happened. It’s hard to imagine what was going through the film-makers head when deciding it was good idea to include it.

The only reason I could give for anyone to watch Shadowland is that you are a big fan of Amelia Eve. But trust me when I say that’s not enough. It is a confusing mess of a film which has little to recommend.

Shadowland is available via the usual digital outlets, in the UK, now.

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