So what we have here
is the positively inexplicable story of a bloodthirsty monster that
can look like a human being for a while. Said monster then gets
locked up in a maximum security prison.
Which means, of course, there's gonna be a bloodbath in lockup.
Here's the interesting
part--this is the second of two movies that The Asylum filmed in
the EXACT SAME PLACE. Longtime readers of mine might remember my
coverage of "Dead Man Walking", and that's the first.
"Dead Man Walking" and "Shapeshifter" were filmed
in the exact same prison.
Immediately, you can
tell what we're in for here...watch the amazing continuity lapse
at two minutes and thirty six seconds.
from the waist up...fire up your frame advance and BAM! Suddenly,
she's had a complete hosedown--nary a speck of blood to be had!
And then, as though someone slapped their head and gave a hearty
"Oh YEAH! She's supposed to be waist-up in blood!"--she's
once again soaked from the neck down.
Positively amazing, guys.
It's a bad sign when
we're not five minutes in and the plot's already got a gaping hole
in it. Movies like this make me feel like Tom Hanks in "Cast
Away"--Hey Wilson, there's a HOLE in the raft!
Even worse is the addition of the character "Leonard",
a giant of a man with strength above the average and intellect below.
Sound familiar to anyone else?
Now, suddenly, I feel
like Tom Hanks in "The Green Mile." I half expected Leonard
to offer somebody some corn bread.
from those two substantial gaffes, there's not much else that's
technically wrong with "Shapeshifter". If the editors
had paid a little closer attention, and the script writer refrained
from a little derivation, the slight problems with "Shapeshifter"
would have been eliminated.
is a surprise in every sense. Tautly plotted, well acted, and with
very believable effects, "Shapeshifter" turns out a lot
better than it probably should have. It's yet another monster movie,
but it's a very well done monster movie. The intermingling of survival
horror and locked-room mystery (yes, there IS just a bit of locked-room
mystery in this one) adds a surprisingly subtle and all too welcome
The ending is a little
predictable, but still very well done. Plus, we get a nice little
twist on our ending.
The special features
include deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, cast and
crew commentary, and a strange little montage of clips and background
music called "Ode To Shapeshifter."
I don't know why it's
there...I don't really WANT to know why it's there. It's...alarming.
Genuinely. It's alarming in the weirdest, funniest, sort of way.
And with twelve seconds left, the funniest part kicks in. A screen
of text emerges that reads:
"Scene Fifty-Six Inserts -- Missing -- Couldn't shoot it 'cause
no one would co-operate with me."
All in all, "Shapeshifter"
proves to be quite a good, a surprisingly good, little package for
a movie filmed in a marathon session on the same set that The Asylum
used mere weeks prior.
GRADE: 3 stars ***
Directed by Gregory Lemkin
Written by A. Everett Howe
Starring Jennifer Lee Wiggins, Ocean, Chris Facey, Vaz Andreas,
Produced by David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, Sherri Strain
Video Store Guy knows the best movies you've never seen. Check his
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