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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Shadow Within (Region 1 Edition)


Starring: Laurence Belcher and Hayley J Williams
MTI Video
RRP: $24.95
Certificate: R
Available 25 May 2010

A woman lives alone with her young son in an isolated village. Maurice's twin died at birth, strangulated by the umbilical cord, but the surviving boy has an undeniable connection with his dead brother. His mother tries to keep the boy away from school; however, a handful of elderly women learn of his 'gift' and yearn unsympathetically to hear from their own deceased offspring. Contacting the dead shouldn't be taken lightly though. Maurice lives at times in terror of his sibling's shadow and dark-eyed possession. But why is the spirit still here, and what does it want...?

As a lover of supernatural horror more than any other, the prospect of this one appeared intriguing. The prologue scene is well-crafted; the brightly over-lit delivery room of the hospital immediately puts the viewer on the wrong foot with a sense of off-kilter unease. The look of shock that a doctor exchanges with a nurse gets your imagination working overtime. Is the second baby deformed or demonic, or is it something else? This promising start is soon forgotten when we jump forward to a few years later and learn that the second twin is dead, and that he has a connection through the surviving Maurice.  The single mother perpetually mourns the loss of her other son, to the detriment of Maurice, who she practically blames for his death. This is a well thought-out and believable scenario, as is the group of women who want to use Maurice to contact their own deceased children. However, the main problem this film suffers from is a plodding sentimentality, which doesn't really work. The plot would fit comfortably into a twenty or thirty minute segment, but is much too long and drawn out in a feature.

The best asset The Shadow Within has going for it is the boy who plays Maurice. His acting is a light in the darkness of mediocrity, particularly when much of the time he has nothing more to act against than a clawed shadow that is obviously added in post production. This is an average film which could have been so much more.


Ty Power

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