Shapeshifter (2005) Poster


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The SciFi Channel Could Do A Lot Better...
innocuous19 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The SciFi channel has apparently fallen head over heels in love with their "original productions". Whether or not "Shapeshifter" is a SciFi original or not, it is representative of a bothersome trend...instead of trying to compete with other channels showing "classic" films or recent releases that are actually of some quality, give the viewer "original" garbage.

Along with this trend, SciFi has decided that their original movies should be R-rated, but since they want to be sensitive to the concerns of parents, they block out anything titillating (bare breasts, giving someone the finger, etc.) and leave uncut the disembowelment, chewing, decapitations, and spewing blood. Check out "Rest Stop" or "Haunted Prison" or some of their other recent flicks.

With that said, what can we say about "Shapeshifter"? I think that one thing in the script sums it all up: the screenwriter(s) actually think that the gas chambers used in executions use natural gas. That's right. They think that natural gas piped in through the usual cast iron pipes is pumped into the execution chamber.

Enough already...let's have some intelligent plotting and scripts.
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So bad it mad my eyes hurt.
Big_Loin14 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'm pretty open minded and can watch just about anything. This piece of garbage however has to be the worst thing i've had the displeasure to watch for years. It was so bad it made my eyes hurt.

The acting is pathetic, the plot is simple (but in the right hands good have being acceptable), the special effects are dire and the monster suit - lord have mercy, the rabbit suit on Donnie Darko looks better.

The director tries to be clever and uses flash filming to try and "enhance" the scene but in fact it's so annoying and unnecessary, it'll probably give people elliptic fits as well. The same scene is also used multiple times for different situations. For example the beast kills some one rips open their stomach and chows down on their intestines. The beast then tries to get the other prisoners but can't due to the bars either side of him. The film then loops back to the beast ripping up the mans stomach again and chowing down on his intestines!!!!!!!! This is not a rare occurrence either it must have happened about 4 times and the films only on 80 minutes! There's so much wrong with this film that I could write a 1000 word essay on it. The comments above were either made by studio plants of Stevie Wonder. Avoid at all costs!
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Pretty lame
KillerCadugen5 December 2005
Shapeshifter is the story (if I can use that word) of a monstrous shapeshifting beast wreaking havoc inside a prison ... and that's about as deep as this thing gets. The acting is terrifically bad, the script was written by someone who has no idea how people act and react and the monster suit is just laughably bad ... as if they took something off the discount rack at the Halloween store. Add to all that a director who masks the lack of any special effects with that frenetic flash-editing style that probably causes some people to have epileptic seizures and you have one terrible, terrible movie. Across the board, there is simply no talent associated with this movie. Strictly amateur. If you're into watching train wrecks, rent this one. If not, find something else. My wife asked me why I wanted to rent it and I said you never know when you'll find something pretty good ... which is almost never. If you want to see a low-budget, amateur movie with some talent then see The Revenge of Bloody Bill.
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The Most God-Awful Movie. The Worst I Have Ever Seen! Turned Off After 30 Minutes
jbartelone16 January 2009
I don't believe I have ever seen a worse film in my life. Everything about this movie is the lowest of the low, it is putrid. (And that may be its good point!) Seriously, it is THAT BAD.

Shapeshifter is set in some remote prison with guards who have the mentality of a middle-school dropout both in intelligence and training. They walk around the facility with nothing of substance to say or do. There is nothing of quality in this movie, there is no story, no value, no reason to watch. The Shapeshifter appears to be some Russian immigrant prisoner who is able to transform himself into a flesh-eating monster. He starts by biting on his arm until it bleeds, with some terrible music and special effects that will make anyone watching prone to seizures, does some metamorphosis dancing, which takes about 5 minutes for him to change, than becomes this monster, The Shapshifter. The Shapreshifter than eats the flesh of the people at the prison. I didn't even get that far into the movie, but other reviewers have said that he does the same thing EVERY TIME.

I cannot think of one positive thing to say about this movie, not one. Terrible camera angles, annoying rap music that has no place or reason to be in any of the scenes, and rapidly changing movements of the director going from shot to shot add up to garbage. This movie is beyond bad.

What is even worse, is that some films that are bad at least have some unintentional humor to make them what some industry people call, "Golden Turkeys" The type of movies that are so bad, they are good, because they are corny. Shapeshifter can't even save itself from even the smallest bit of intentional humor to give it any redeeming qualities at all. How did this trash even get made? Shame on The Chiller Channel for showing this garbage, and any other stations that may air it for that matter.

This movie should be pulled from distribution and destroyed. If that happened, I guarantee you that whoever had to sit through this moronic film would celebrate. Please don't waste your time with this film. It's an insult to all viewers that this crap was even made. I feel sick and angry just from watching it. I have no idea what the cast and crew were smoking when they made this hideous picture.
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Gets off to a bad start, but is somewhat fun by the middle
Jack23 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
So there's this Romanian guy who can change from a person into a monster. We start off with an MTV rap video (Hear that noise? That was 75% of the audience changing the channel) of him killing a guy while a prostitute gets splattered with his blood. Not a terribly auspicious way to begin the movie. He's arrested for something and taken to the local jail, which was apparently a prison at one point, but now the upper two floors are abandoned. The cops don't know about his shape-shifting power. We meet our guards, a couple of guys who behave like clowns and a female who's got a bit of a back-story (gee, wonder who will live 'till the end?). We meet the prisoners, a group of stereotypes who do the usual trash-talking for a few minutes. Then of course our shape-shifter does his changaroo thing and the fun begins.

I really wasn't too interested in this at the beginning, it looked like your typical "trying way too hard to be hip" type thing, but once the monster starts running around, it actually improves quite a bit. The guard babe strips down to her see-through T-shirt with half her bra sticking out, and the stereotypical prisoners turn into fairly normal human beings who are all fighting for their survival. They crawl through some crawlspace above the ceiling of the jail and get into the abandoned upper floors, which provide a suitably creepy place for them to have their various engagements with the killer critter. There's also a somewhat interesting story that develops about what the monster's motives are. The prisoner characters are used pretty well to add even more interest to the story as they of course aren't the most compassionate bunch towards their fellow prisoners. And the lead babe is quite a good actress, she really does a nice job with her butt-kicking heroine roll. And did I mention she's running around in a see-through T-shirt with half her bra sticking out? Well, it bears repeating.

Overall, after the crummy start, I thought this evolved into a fairly entertaining monster flick by the midway point. I give the beginning a 2/10 and the rest a slightly above average 6/10, which averages out to about 4.
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Thumbs up for make-up and story premise!
not_working13 November 2005
I picked this movie up last night looking for a little demon-themed horror and was pleasantly surprised that Shapeshifter delivered. The creature effects were awesome (a lot of time and effort was poured into this creature, Tom Savini and Rick baker would be proud) and the story was a cross between "Alien" and "Oz" - pretty cool concept. There are a few moments were the suspense builds a little too long, but overall the payoff is great. Much more of a watcher than some of the theatrical "thrillers" like the most recent "Stay". Overall, I could see this become an ongoing series of films, like "Wishmaster" and "Leprechaun". A "must-see" for any fan of the claustrophobic thrillers/demon cult genres.
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Some Good Moments
Kathy Burke12 January 2006
The film has a good premise, a Romanian prisoner, sent on revenge mission, who can transform from human to beast and back again.

Yes, the survival film in a confined space has been done before. But what's different is that you're never really sure when the beast is going to be monster and when it's going to be human.

The cast is pretty good, particularly Marat Glazer and AJ Hammond. Jennifer Wiggins runs a bit hot and cold (it feels like she got more direction in some scenes and less in others), but it's great to see a female action lead who can throw a punch and not look ridiculous.

The Beast design was well conceived. The Shapeshifter has this strange ancient quality to him. The horns, the four fingered hands, the nasty teeth - it's particularly effective when he gets good and bloodied up.

The sound mix sounded great on our system. The music is good, although it gets a bit monotonous at times and at other times seems oddly absent.

There's quite a bit of gore, although certainly not nearly as much as Dead Men Walking, another Asylum film which was clearly shot at the same location as Shapeshifter.

Typical of film in this budget range, there are some parts that work and some that don't. Still, the good outweighs the bad and the whole thing adds up to a fun low budget thriller.
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OK, but nothing too special
slayrrr66617 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Shapeshifter" is one that needs a little work to become a pretty decent film.


Newly discharged soldier Ginny Lydon, (Jennifer Lee Wiggins) accepts a job in a prison for damaged criminals. On her first day, a strange man, (Joel Hebner) is brought in that speaks no English, and the entire staff and inmates are freaked out. After witnessing him undergoing a transformation into a vicious creature, they round up the remaining inmates and guards to get them to safety. There, they try to form an escape plan. After a failed series of attempts, which all ends in slaughter, a startling revelation forces a change of plans that could save them.

The Good News: Yet another monster-in-a-prison film, this one isn't all that bad. The small prison it's set in is the perfect way to generate some suspense by showing that there's really nowhere to hide. That puts them constantly at danger from the creature, and it makes the peril all the more suspenseful. The creature itself is one of the best parts of the film. A fully imposing design, bulky with large arms, huge claws, and a really shocking looking head that really strikes fear on first impression. The fact that it's a real costume instead of some CGI creation goes a long way in creating a lot of fear in it. It wouldn't work as well the other way had it been done. The next best feature here is the gore, which is quite abundant and appealing. There's a very vicious mangling, a person ripped in half in the waist, a couple of stabbings, and a head bashed into a pulp, among other kills. There's even a scene where a person gnaws on their arm and chews through it. It is pretty gory when it needs to be. The small little moment here and there that was pretty nicely laid out was okay. The fact that it started early and fast was best, allowing for the action to start up and get the interest level way up quite rapidly.

The Bad News: Beyond those few reasons, there's very little to really like in this one. The small setting, while also a detriment by having a closed-off area to drive suspense from, also hurts it by showing off what little there is to the production. Normally, this isn't a problem, but when there's hardly anything to it that indicates it's just a small part of something bigger, then it hurts the film a little. This is an obviously small prison that does have the appearance of just being that big in real life. Another big problem is that there is a very fast start to it, but then the middle section slows down to a near crawl that is really painful to sit through. The action slows down to finally get some other scenes in, which is a shame as it started out so fast. By selecting that part of the movie to get to know the characters only slows down what momentum that was built up. There's also a problem with contrasting issues brought up here and there. It has several scenes that contradict each other that are quite obviously found. These reasons keep it from being the simple monster-on-the-loose film it could've so easily been.

The Final Verdict: Not all that bad at all, yet could've been helped by fixing a couple of small problems. Really recommended for fans of similar films from the company, and those interested in a look while not really find much to dislike.

Rated R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language and Brief Nudity
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You know when you find a flaming bag on your doorstep...
JoeB13123 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
and you stomp it out, and it full of doggie droppings?

Well, that's pretty much what this movie is.

The plot is that the Russian Mob (or maybe it's the Romanian mob. Who cares) unleashes a shape-shifting creature in America to bump off (or maybe it's break out) an informant from prison. Essentially, we are to believe that six convicts when left alone with a young hottie guard aren't going to gang rape her or try to escape, but are going to listen to her stupid directions that proceed to get nearly all of them killed. Right, these are the nice convicts. (Rolls eyes) Don't even need to put locks on the cells because they won't try to escape.

The movie is largely an excuse to use gore makeup and act as a showcase for young FX artists ("Yeah, ignore the stupid plot, but look at that cool makeup I did for $1.99 and some bottle deposits.") None of the actors can really be called actors.

Oh, hey, and Sci-Fi Channel employees, stop posting here with good ratings, you're not fooling anyone. I stopped watching your channel a long time ago. I just occasionally encounter your stuff at the video store.
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Fun Low Budget Horror
gandrews13 December 2005
I have to admit that I enjoyed this movie.

You probably have to be a fan of the low budget horror film to understand what makes Shapeshifter stand out. I've seen a lot of these films (including those by The Asylum). They're one of my guilty pleasures, outlandish gore fests often filled with hilariously campy acting.

Shapeshifter is a bit different. It's is much more of a horror-thriller than a straight horror film, it has a plot that makes sense, a solid cast, and only a moderate amount of gore.

Underneath it all, Shapeshifter is a classic siege film. It's has a solid premise, a female prison guard gets trapped in a jail with a deadly beast and must band together with the prisoners in order to survive. It's kind of like a supernatural version of Assault on Precinct 13.

The cast is a lot of fun. The inmates are one of these classic crews of ragtag prison characters. There's the Goofy Young Black Guy, the Old Excommunicated Priest, the fallen Brother from the Nation of Islam, the White Trash ex-Junkie, the Romanian mobster and the Prisoner who never talks.

Jennnifer Lee Wiggins plays the female prison guard, a former solider with an other-than honorable discharge and a chip on her shoulder. Okay, it's s bit cliché, but once she gets the dorky prison guard shirt off and starts running around the prison in her wife-beater t-shirt, she looks totally hot.

There are almost no special effects or computer graphics. The film could have used some, but I still thought the Beast was convincing.

The plot gets a bit goofy at the end. I'm not sure why, because the writing and the directing are pretty solid up until that point. Editing tricks and flashbacks are overused but still add to the film's impact.

Overall, a good rental for fans of the genre.
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Another terrible zero budget piece of crap.
Paul Andrews1 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Shapeshifter is set in a state prison where state law demands the warden has to have a minimum number of female deputies, ex-soldier Ginny Lydon (Jennifer Lee Wiggins) gets the job. It's Ginny's first night & she's placed in the low security wing where they keep the none violent & mentally unbalance prisoners, a new prisoner named Velku (Vaz Andreas) turns out to be a Romanian shapeshifter who can transform into a huge hairy monster thing. It's there to break fellow Romanian Marcoux (Marat Glazer) out & kill any witnesses in order to conceal it's human identity, however it never reckoned on Ginny Lydon who doesn't take too kindly to hairy monsters ripping her prisoners apart on her shift...

Co-written & directed by Gregory Lemkin one has to say that without wishing to sound too unkind Shapeshifter is awful. The script by Lemkin & A. Everett Howe is terrible, it's boring, it's predictable, it's slow, nothing of any interest happens & it goes on for too long, far too long. The character's are awful, the dialogue is awful, the comedy relief is awful & all the character motivations are awful like continually splitting up & wondering off down corridors on their own, not making enough of an effort to escape, standing around talking doing nothing in particular & this whole film is just bad. Very bad.

Director Lemkin doesn't do anything to make this rubbish any more watchable, there are annoying editing techniques where everything on the screen goes double & blurry, there's the usual irritating & pointless slow motion scenes & as a general rule Shapeshifter is a bit of an eyesore. There's some cheap gore, a few people have their guts ripped out & someone has their head bashed in, these scenes are pretty brief & sound batter than they actually are. There's no atmosphere, no tension & certainly no scares. The special effects are terrible, the actual hairy creature thing looks absolutely awful in every respect. Even with Lemkin trying to keep it in the shadows as much as possible can't disguise how bad this thing looks.

With a supposed budget of about $200,000 this was a low budget film & it show's, it's pretty bland, dull & incompetent. Shot in Los Angeles. The acting is terrible by no-one you've ever heard of plain & simple, enough said.

Shapeshifter is one of those awful horror films where nothing works, it's one of those films where after the first twenty odd minutes you just sit there waiting & hoping it will finish. Soon. Definitely not recommended.
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Stick with Skeleton Man
xredgarnetx17 September 2006
And I thought it couldn't get worse than SKELETON MAN. I was wrong. The Sci-Fi Channel's latest effort, SHAPE SHIFTER, is a rehash of JEEPERS CREEPERS, with a flesh-eating, morphing demon invading a jail and knocking off the inmates one by one. The entire cast of this dreadful movie can be counted on the fingers of two hands, and none of them -- and I mean none -- can act their way out of a cardboard jail cell. The creature, a man in a costume, would be OK if its rubbery head horns didn't keep wiggling every time the creature munches down on someone. The gore is frequent, but poorly executed. The filmmakers obviously were trying for that supremely nasty moment in JEEPERS CREEPERS when the Creeper is found gnawing on the limb of an inmate. In this, they fail miserably. You want over-the-top gore and a better monster, stick with CHUPACABRA.
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It wasn't great but.....
becky-17325 December 2005
It wasn't the greatest film but as low-no budget movies go, it kept my interest. It wasn't very scary and there was a lack of suspense. To say there was no talent associated with this film, well let's just put down the hater-aid. AJ Hammond, who played Mohammad seemed extremely well trained in the craft. Marcoux was convincing as well. I liked Ginny's fight scene with Marcoux. I'm not saying there wasn't over and under acting (by some) peppered through out. It's hard to not let bad editing and\or writing overshadow new talent but I believe that some of these actors will go on to "make it" and many critics will be forced to eat their words.
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if you don't need to be entertained, this ones for you!
Dylan Thomas24 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
OK, here comes the spoiler (is it even possible to spoil this movie any more that the soiled piece of trash it already is?) At what time is this "monster" even a shapeshifter? I watched it with the sound off while on the Internet and for like 20 min it was the same scene over and over; just some guy in a bloody cell and finally he begins to gnaw on himself to discover there's an amulet in his arm. OK fine.. then he starts summoning, OK... not bad, then it drags out into a non-demon, shapeshifter that gets stronger when it eats flesh, yet still part of some occult plot according to our on-screen expert, some jailhouse nutbag that suddenly offers all of the 'dirt' to shovel into all the plot-holes. Which of course begins a hole within a hole that inevitably envelopes itself. But since the monster is trapped on the other side of the set, oops, I mean cell, it just keeps eating the same guard, over and over. Oh yea, did I mention a bunch of inmates are trapped with a super hot little Latina cop babe with a white tank-top who's having her first day in training at a prison, and they aren't even remotely suggesting raping her or anything other than dragging up her past to suggest she doesn't have what it takes to "command" them or be in charge. Omg am I writing a review of this garbage? A bunch long drawn out completely unbelievable dialog and premise that goes beyond the ability to render it understandable by any conscionable level. That's it, I am not awake. I must be having one of those dreams that makes no sense again. You know the one. Yer dreaming, you start realizing it and think, "man, this dream would make a great movie". And then you wake up, except the writers never did for this stupid nutshell...

They did save a bundle though filming in just two rooms, and clothing the monster in a $40 outfit. Oh and not having a script or any concept.
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If my back were as hairy as the Shapeshifters', I'd go on a murderous rampage too
Phillemos16 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is kind of an "Alien"-set-in-a-prison type movie. A very attractive prison guard (Jennifer Wiggins) is trapped in lockup with some bad-boys and a guy who turns into a four-fingered monster with horns on the back of his head and the worst case of back hair you've ever seen. He spends the whole movie switching from monster to prisoner and back again. The movie starts off with a bang -- the movie's before-the-credits-roll sequence features the prisoner/monster escapes and kills a guy getting serviced by a prostitute, so you're on the hook immediately. Unfortunately, the movie gets a little slow at times. The producers spend too much time developing characters that you're just not interesting in getting to know better. But Wiggins is very enjoyable to look at, and unlike most SciFi movies (this was a SciFi Premier they bought the rights to, not a SciFi original) she makes it to the end. For the reason alone, this movie gets upgraded to a 4.
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Even for the Sci-Fi Channel, Shapeshifter is terrible
TheLittleSongbird9 January 2013
Most Sci-Fi Channel movies are really bad, but there is something compulsive in that regard that makes you keep watching them. And believe it or not, there are a few of their movies that are tolerable. Shapeshifter is not one of them, it instead situates under the many terrible Sci-Fi Channel movies. The difference though is that there is nothing that has any kind of novelty value or unintentionally hilarious, Shapeshifter is an example actually of a move that is so bad that it's bad and makes you cross after watching. The limited budget really shows here, with scenery that is too small and compact and special effects that look unfinished and jarring within the rest of the production values. The camera angles further cheapen them, everything feels really rushed and quickly headache-inducing. The music bears no improvement either, it is very annoying and doesn't fit at all in the atmosphere, which has no suspense whatsoever. The writing reeks of banality, the story never excites or surprises and the monster is reminiscent of someone in a very cheaply-rendered monster suit. On top of that, the direction brings nothing distinctive or effort to the movie, the characters are shallow and get on your nerves and the acting, especially the ex-priest with an accent that is noticeably inconsistent, is atrocious. Overall, terrible, don't waste your time. 0/10 Bethany Cox
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Hilarious Late Night Fare
mamahoochie21 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
We saw this on SciFi Channel.

It was clearly so low budget that it became part of the fun. We saved it and watched it late at night, mainly yelling back at the television.

The odd thing was that the first half hour was actually pretty good. There was some good suspense as the lead character and Shapeshifter gets introduced, but then the film got bogged down.

All the kills were pretty obvious and the gore was less realistic and more exaggerated, almost as if the filmmakers were just having fun with it. I'm not sure the style would be very satisfying to hard core horror fans.

The best part was actually the beast, the old "man in a rubber suit," more more fun and way more campy than a computer made monster. It has that old fifties creature feature vibe.

There are a few cool scenes - the kill with the old guy by the door, the scenes in the catwalks etc. The actors vary from pretty good (Marcoux, Ginny ) to somewhat amateur.
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Don't let the corporate shills fool you - this was AWFUL!
Asteri-Atypical23 March 2007
You can always tell the comments which come from those with a vested interest in a movie like this. Amidst myriad comments decrying how AWFUL it was, you get a few who praise it - much worse, they actually cast votes as high as 10/10! No matter how much guilty pleasure one derives from dreck like this, by no stretch of the imagination could this film be ranked as high as the greatest films of all time!

Yet I'm not here to rail on those who pretend this is a good film. I have nothing against them. I merely bring them up to point out how pathetic this film truly is. That it will garner no sincere admiration of this (or nearly any) level.

Movies just don't get any more stupid. This movie ranks among the very worst, with no real redeeming qualities or enjoyability whatsoever. It is true garbage.

Sad to know this is what the Sci-Fi Channel has stooped to. Now they have become synonymous with movies which scrape the bottom of the barrel and are written for severely mentally disabled adults or below average children.
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Chris Mackey (guestar57)9 December 2005
This is the second film ( Dead Men Walking) set in a prison by TheAsylum. The mythos behind plot is very good, Russian mafia has this demon do there dirty work and the rainbow array of inmates have to defend their bars & mortar. Jennifer Lee(see interview) Wiggins stars as a prison guard who has a inmate ,who maybe a DEMON. The monster suit is awesome and frightening, and a different look that almost smacks of a Toy Franchise, Hey if Full Moon and Todd McFarlane can make action figures for any character..Why not The Beast from Bray Road Wolfette,Shapeshifter with medallion accessory,or the Rhett Giles everyman hero with removable appendages.
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Devoid of any intelligence or entertainment, I have NEVER seen a movie this pathetic
pkmac474 February 2009
After watching an hour of this movie, I want my hour of life back.

First of all, the previous reviewer really hits home with his/her analysis of the plot, acting and effects. I was immediately shocked how bad and lame the acting is. The story opens up to a psychotic inmate with a stupid pentagram-like tattoo on his chest having a "seizure". He briefly cannibalizes his own arm, where the lame effects show him cross-fading over thirty-seconds into a hairy guy in a Styrofoam "demon" suit.

The most funny plot part is that once the inmates and guards team up to survive the prison, one prisoner seems to be a demon expert. He proclaims crazy theories about why demons eat flesh, essentially to make them stronger, duh, and the rest of the inmates and guards agree.
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My Gawd, How Awful
zebratigre23 September 2009
First, there is NO security in this prison. Second, the guards have firearms (big no no). Third, the script is terrible. Fourth, the monster suit is ridiculous. Fifth, the acting is abysmal. Sixth, the direction is worse. Need I go on? The guy who plays the monster in human form is cute, though, but not cute enough to save this stinker.

And the jail doesn't even have a phone, much less a radio. And why is the female deputy running around in a skimpy top? Definitely a prison no no. Nobody seems to have the least idea of procedure. The Romanian ex-priest is terrible.His accent keeps changing. I won't spoil this one for anyone because it would be redundant.

One of the worst films I have ever seen. For real.
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