Friday, December 14, 2012

Shadowhunters (2004)

Pack: Tomb of Terrors
Disc: 11

Subgenre(s): Demons, Zombies

Year: 2004

Rated: Unrated
Length: 92 minutes

Director: John Johnson
Writers: John Johnson, Lincoln L. Lilley, Liam Smith
Starring: David Simmons, Ted Taylor, Liam Smith

Synopsis: A quarrelsome quartet of demon hunters go deep into the bowels of a decrepit hospital on a mission to find Malphaedor, the rampaging spirit haunting the building. Once inside, they run into a group of sorority pledges who are there as part of a hazing ritual. But if the comely coeds hope to make it through rush week alive, the Shadowhunters must put a stop to Malphaedor's mayhem.


Review: You know you've crossed over to the dark side when the demons in the movie you're watching have upside down crosses or pentagrams on their foreheads just so you know that they are demons. Such is the case in Shadowhunters which was allegedly filmed for $2000 and looks like they spent all of it on bottles of ketchup.

Even if you make allowances for the horribly compressed and fuzzy transfer, Shadowhunters is still amateur to the extreme with dimly lit scenes, no acting ability being demonstrated, and a story full of more plot holes than are allowable for something so simple. Essentially, it looks like the filmmakers over-ambitiously tried to fit too much in to please everybody, but made such a mess of it that they've ended up pleasing nobody.

To start with, there are far too many poorly differentiated characters to keep track of. Mercifully, once the killing starts, they get thinned out enough to know who at least two of them are, but that's about it. Apart from one obvious exception, the "Shadowhunters" all look the same in their 1930s' gangster costumes of raincoats and fedoras while the foul-mouthed sorority pledges can really only be told apart by the colour of their underwear or by how many tattoos they have showing.

There isn't enough backstory or exposition given to the team of Shadowhunters to establish them or why the demon, Malphaedor, is buried underneath an obviously not abandoned hospital. Why there are two "English" guys living in the hospital basement is also never explained.

I remember that a lot of over-praise was given to Shadowhunters back in the day although presumably it was from prepubescent schoolboys who were amazed at the plethora of tiny A-cup sized boobs on display. Since only three out of the eight girls become topless, it's more than an exaggeration to call this a "boobs and blood" horrorfest. It might have helped if any of the topless girls were the attractive ones.

I very nearly switched Shadowhunters off after the first few minutes during the "history lesson" with its "posterised" black and white video effects. There's a big difference between cheap looking and too cheap to be watchable. The camerawork improves after that point, but the lighting certainly doesn't. Some scenes are filmed with fluorescent bulbs behind the actors which is beyond a schoolboy error. The sound is often full of echoes too.

With its constantly shifting tone from serious to comedy, Shadowhunters suffers more of an identity crisis than its possessed characters, but giving credit where it's due, there are some nicely done blood effects. Unfortunately, because there aren't any characters to care about, anything which happens to them just goes through the motions of adding horror set pieces. The usual "still breathing corpses" rule applies. For that reason, Shadowhunters becomes a rather superficial and boring experience very quickly.

In fact, I became so bored with Shadowhunters that I couldn't get through it in one go. I actually stopped watching it at the 58 minute mark, then came back to it after a hearty meal and a long sleep. I didn't really want to finish this movie, but I did for the sake of this blog. If I hadn't been reviewing it, I would have quite happily skipped it.

Suffice it to say that Shadowhunters is just another slasher but with a demon who can raise zombies added to it. It's a completely predictable, poor man's version of Constantine although the formulaic reveal at the end is admittedly different.

I think there may be a sequel available now, but I don't really want to see it unless I have to.

Most Memorable Moment(s): Two American guys doing obviously fake British or Australian accents in the basement for absolutely no reason.

Originality: In the same vein as Constantine (2005), but plays out like a slightly more adult version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Best Line(s): "Did you see all that scattered ass?"
Worst Line(s): "My end was clear as well."

Best Effect(s): The younger "English" guy getting nailed to the floor.
Worst Effect(s): The lightning bolts during the final ritual.

Goriness (out of 10): 4
Sexiness (out of 10): 3
Profanities (out of 10): 7

Hottest Actor/Actress: Rebecca Taylor as Sara.

Picture Quality: Below average (fuzzy and compressed)
Audio Quality: Slightly below average

Rating (out of 10): 2


IMDb or Wiki:

Final Thoughts: Ketchup, A-cups, and a big gun that shoots sparks.

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