Twists of fury: Shadow
In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.
This time, marvel at the double-twist that adorns the climax of Italiano-but-in-English flick, Shadow. As ever, if you’ve not seen it, QUIT READING NOW.
Set Up: Recently done-with-Iraq/Afghanistan American soldier David (Jake Muxworthy), delays his return home for a cycling vacation in the beautiful scenery of somewhere. I can’t remember if they even tell you what country he’s gone to. I digress, he befriends fellow-pedallar Angeline and they piss-off some redneck hunters before all four find themselves captured by a Gollum-esque sadist who enjoys torturing the men… David escapes to save Angeline but –
Twist: …it was all a dream. Well, a coma-imagined limbo-cum-fighting-to-stay-alive thing. David’s in hospital after he and his squadron fell on a landmine. The redneck guys are two colleagues; Angeline is the nurse; the killer-dude was clearly death on legs.
And speaking of legs, David has none left below the knee. Something that will undoubtedly thwart the planned cycling trip.
Problems with this revelation: It’s just naff, isn’t it? The kind of miracle twist you’d write at school thinking you’d fooled everybody! What’s worse, the limbo/fighting-death thing was done in Soul Survivors, although in that trash only good, middle-class, white, heterosexual, Christian teenagers were able to make it back.
Likely explanation: Decently cruel no-legs twist notwithstanding, Shadow seems to have been reverse engineered from the twist backwards. At 75 minutes, it’s a short affair, and with a decent edit could probably form part of an anthology to greater effect than a feature in its own right.
Disappointingly, aside from the gorgeous scenery, there’s little else in the film that hasn’t been done before. The torture scenes look like off-cuts from Hostel and the stalk n’ slashing is curiously tame and largely off-camera.