Review: Shifted

Written and directed by Adrian Konstant, co-written by Jason T. Green, murderous creatures roam the streets bringing certain death. Neighbours trapped inside a house with one killing the others, a monster inside and monsters outside. Starring: Michael Wurtz, Derek Lackenbauer, Victoria Dunsmore, Brian Otto, Alyssa Anne Blasak, Zach Parsons, Jenna Gagliardi, Alyssa Schermel, Sean Rey and Adrian Konstant.

Starting with an unknown murderer, trapped with a group of people, in an isolated location and the group is being taken out one by one, is always a good premise. Audiences love crime, mystery and growing violence and in that sense the story was onto something promising but unfortunately, when you’re then adding monsters into the mix, things get messy. It’s akin to a murder mystery during a zombie apocalypse and that doesn’t immediately mean it can’t work, it can but it would need a playful, self-aware tone whereas Adrian Konstan and Jason T. Green aim for a more straight-forward atmosphere. Those choices leave the story somewhat in limbo, it has the potential for something fun but doesn’t embrace it, meaning it can only get so far. It’s feet get tangled up in the drama of its little community, while the rest of the body tries to move forward and introduce the monsters, and the timing can’t quite match up.

Visually it makes some good choices, making this story on a small budget is a tricky thing to do but it smartly keeps the effects to a minimum, as well as remaining in one simple location. There are a few choices which don’t help the overall tone, the opening in particular comes across as parody rather than setting the scene. It also struggles to build up the tension or suspense that its story is calling for which is a shame, it would have been great to see it pull through a bigger darkness to its sinister edge, rather than focusing on the dramatic moments. It had the potential for something heightened by danger but it takes a good while for the monster theme to really play through, by which time the fear isn’t there to lean into.

It’s undoubtedly an ensemble film, there’s a game at work here and each of the players have the opportunity to move the pieces. There’s a good mix of different personalities, bringing through some conflict and separation as well as connections. Each of them get their chance to feed into the emotions of the story and do well but again, it doesn’t quite go far enough to bring a bigger tension or fear. It’s a solid group but there also isn’t a lot of space to develop the characters further, to give you a bigger investment in their ultimate fate.

Shifted attempts to merge two different stories, an unravelling serial murder and encroaching monsters, and it’s unfortunately too much for one film. That shifting focus between the two means that neither one can fully take the limelight and push the film where it needs to go. It has a solid cast and direction but without bringing the other elements together cohesively, it’s missing out the tension and suspense. It’s a good premise but didn’t have the danger, risk and fear bubbling inside it to reach a more satisfying payoff.

Verdict: ✯✯½ | 5/10

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