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Shadowland (2008)

3.7
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Reviews: 7 user | 13 critic

A taut reinvention of vampire lore, Shadowland opens in modern day North America, where construction workers uncover an old stone cross and what appears to be a wooden stake. They remove ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Caitlin McIntosh ...
Laura
...
Julian
...
Lazarus
Dale D. Moore ...
Pastor
Don McLendon ...
Bishop
David Martyn Conley ...
Cook
...
Digger
Jim Steinbrenner ...
Foreman
Donna M. Parroné ...
Mother
Bill Stine ...
Father
Stephanie Kronenberg ...
Sister
Jay Kelley ...
Homeless Guy
Erin Calahan ...
Cashier
...
Obnoxious Girl #1
...
Obnoxious Girl #2
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Storyline

A taut reinvention of vampire lore, Shadowland opens in modern day North America, where construction workers uncover an old stone cross and what appears to be a wooden stake. They remove the stake from the ground, allowing Laura (Caitlin McIntosh), a slumbering vampire, to revive and rise from the earth. Beaten and weak, Laura is unable to speak, remember who she is, or even the fact that she is a vampire! As Laura attempts to make sense of the strange new world around her, she begins to remember not only an idyllic human life in 1897 but the handsome Lazarus (Carlos Antonio León), a mysterious lover who may not have had her best interests in mind. Soon Julian (Jason Contini), a world-weary vampire hunter employed by the church, begins tracking Laura, but as he closes in for the kill he learns that things are not what they seem. Written by Shadowland

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

vampire | monster

Taglines:

Somewhere, The Truth Is Buried

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some bloody violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

13 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Krieger der Nacht  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many stunts with the Mini Cooper were driven by producer Gayle Gallagher. The Mini was her car, and the production found out shortly before filming began that the lead actor, Jason Contini, could not drive a stick shift. Despite practicing regularly when off camera, he had not mastered the manual transmission enough to do the stunts by the time those scenes were filmed. See more »

Soundtracks

Escape 80's
Written by The Starshrink Shooters & Signal Electronique
Performed by The Starshrink Shooters & Signal Electronique
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User Reviews

 
Beautiful and Engaging
1 January 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

What Wyatt Weed (try saying that three times fast…) has done with "Shadowland" is nothing short of remarkable, in my eyes. The vampire sub-genre is seemingly very difficult to tackle well, and as a result there are very few effective films that fit this categorization. Most filmmakers approach the material in a very similar fashion, and the genre's most significant hindrance is its lack of originality. Weed approaches the material from a different and wholly unique standpoint, crafting a breathtakingly original vampire film. One that is rife with beautifully polished visuals and a depth of character seldom seen in this type of film. "Shadowland" unfolds from a different perspective than what we're accustomed to seeing in traditional vampire films. The thought of "vampires are evil, humans are good", is disregarded in favour of a more character driven plot, suggesting a level of internal conflict seldom explored within this type of movie.

The film opens with a sequence set in 1897, in which the film's central character of Laura, a vampire, is staked and buried. She is unintentionally unearthed in the present day with no memory and no voice. This is all I will mention about the plot behind "Shadowland", and yes I know that synopsis is as bare bones as it can get. Revealing any more would be a disservice to you, the potential viewer, as "Shadowland" is structured in a way that benefits from knowing as little about the film as possible.

After these events are established, the film is told in a manner that uses flashbacks to establish the characters, their motives and the events that have led to the present day occurrences. In the hands of a less capable director, this method of storytelling could be distancing and confusing for the audience, yet Weed uses it as a method to further the story in the most effective way possible, using the technique to reveal to the audience past events that led to Laura's ultimate burial. These events are revealed as they are triggered within Laura's memory, and as such, we are as much a part of the film as Laura, watching from her perspective, as she regains her memory.

Giving even more credence to the character of Laura is actress Caitlin McIntosh. She conveys so much emotion through her expressions, it astounds me. She has so few speaking lines throughout the film, yet manages to give an unbelievable amount of insight into the character of Laura. McIntosh carries the weight of the film on her shoulders from beginning to end, and "Shadowland" is a better film because of it.

Unfortunately, actor Jason Contini doesn't seem to have the same natural charisma or screen presence as McIntosh, and as a result his dialogue occasionally seems stilted and unnatural. He doesn't seem to have a natural chemistry with many of his co-stars, which makes a few of his sequences seem slightly out of place. One sequence however, has Contini and Carlos Antonio Leon (the character of 'Lazarus') having an entertaining exchange of dialogue in a back alley. Leon has an amazing screen presence, and his sequences are enjoyable simply because of the way he presents himself. Jason Contini works off of Leon's presence and the two elevate the scene to a level above any other sequence Contini appears in. This dialogue then leads to a very impressive close-quarters fight, which is much more polished than it should have any right to be.

"Shadowland" was made for a very modest budget I'm sure, yet feels as though it were a multi-million dollar production. Everyone behind the scenes seems to be very capable, as the film is amazingly sound, technically. In front of the camera nearly everyone does a fantastic job, from the leads, to the smaller supporting cast. It is because the film is so well executed in nearly every regard, that the odd time in which something seems less than perfect, it just seems to stand out a little bit more. There is nothing in the film that detracts from its quality any more than a minuscule amount, however.

It's obvious what Wyatt Weed was attempting to accomplish with "Shadowland", and he's done an incredible job. "Shadowland" relies on character and storytelling, more than violence and scares. In fact, there's not a scare to be had in the entire film, and no graphic violence. It's this approach that separates Weed's film from the disposable vampire films of recent memory. It is beautiful and engaging, and should be viewed as an incredible achievement for everyone involved. "Shadowland" is a great movie to be sure, but above and beyond that, it should be viewed as an important work in establishing the potential of the vampire as an emotionally conflicted character with dimensionality.

Jason Pitt - Critical-Film.com


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