Review: Shadow

Written and directed by Nicholas Goodwin, an honest and shy student Jane (Revell Carpenter) finds herself lost in the world of college dating, when her crush Allen (Kumasi Hopkins) doesn’t clearly respond to her feelings, she is left vulnerable to the less admirable intentions of his competitive friend Will (Goodwin). Also starring: Timothy J. Cox and Samantha Morias.

The opening has a sinister or ominous air to it, appropriately so but it also very quickly gives away what this film is and what’s going to happen, with almost complete predictability. It lends quite clearly to the film’s issues of trying too hard, it has a very heavy handed score sitting over the events which just pushes the drama into being over the top and losing any emotion or sincerity unfortunately. Once you see that fat-boy rape culture theme coming from a mile away, it sadly doesn’t have much more to offer.

There’s also a surprising amount of technical blunders with the film, not only the overbearing score but the actual dialogue is lost in the sound mixing and it instead comes across as mumbling. There’s also some more unnecessary choices like using slow-motion which feels out of place and further removes focus from the vital part of the story, which is the victim. However, the biggest issue is that it doesn’t hold a strong message, you would expect a solidarity for victims or justice against the perpetrators but none of that happens here, it’s missing a moral. Even more so, ending on a negative message, while it gets across the affect that assault can have on a person, it shows no tangible sympathy or direction that says this person shouldn’t feel like they’re now worthless or lesser.

It’s a shame as stories such as these are much too common in the real world and their victims deserve to have a voice but that’s not really what this film is about, or at least not what the end result offers up. It’s easy to see that their intention was to make a film tackling the experience of rape within a college environment but it’s lacking the depth to do so in an effective way which results in something well-intentioned but poorly executed. It’s a risky move to try and deal with such a serious and profound issue and unless it’s handled with the utmost care and consideration, as well as the right perspective, it simply doesn’t work.

Verdict: ✯½| 3/10

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