DVD Review: John Carpenter Inspired French Sci-Fi DEAD SHADOWS


Dead Shadows is a French production is a solid sci-fi/horror B-movie that attempts to recreate the stylistic works of John Carpenter (particularly Prince Of Darkness, They Live and The Thing), whilst giving it a modern sheen. It’s pretty successful in its attempts but the humour fails to hit the mark and it unsuccessfully attempts to transcend its low budget limitations. It works though – even if it is dubbed.

Eleven years ago Chris (Fabian Wolfrom) saw his family horrifically die on the same day Halley’s Comet passed-by the earth. A new comet is about to make an appearance – and that’s bad news for the people of earth who are about to turn into the type of bizarre creatures that only H.P Lovecraft could imagine. So can Chris save the planet?

Director David Cholewa wears his John Carpenter references on his sleeve. The protagonist has a poster for Escape From New York on his wall, while frequent Carpenter collaborator Alan Howarth (Halloween II, Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China) did the sound design on the film. Cholewa doesn’t have Carpenter’s mastery though and he can quite make the more subtle moments work.The film looks good though and it’s rather refreshing to see an apocalypse taking place on the streets of Paris. Some of the effects are impressive, while others falter but that’s par for the course in a film that just can’t match the budget of the big boys.

Far from original but solid in its own way, Dead Shadows is a decent attempt to ape the style of John Carpenter. It’s not a total success but it has a few moments to make it worth the time for fans of The Master Of Horror.