A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.
In Shudder, we focus on a dysfunctional family out on a farm with past secrets both in and out of their control that result in the haunting of their house, their lives, and even their psyche. As mother Tricia Cast tries to get a grip on the reality around her, she loses touch and finds herself viciously assaulting her daughter and spending time at a local psychiatric ward where she gets shock treatment. This is all while brothers Gunnar Hansen and Edwin Neal look on, but not without experiencing their own ghostly visions of things to come. Intermittently spliced throughout the film are flashbacks of the past when soldiers happen upon ancestors of the family with natives (one of which is the lovely Tiffany Shepis who DOES get a little naked in this...yay) who the family takes in and uses alongside their black slaves. As we come to learn, Edwin Neal's ancestor from the past gets a little too violent (and deadly) with the slaves, leading to many of the future family's problems. Genre icons Jim O'Rear and John Dugan show up as American soldiers. With the inclusion of Dugan, Hansen, and Neal, Shudder winds up being a bona-fide Texas Chainsaw Massacre reunion which delighted me a bit, especially when seeing all three of these characters on screen together. Total nerd out on my part. The film is fairly lo-budget of course, but it packs a surprisingly nice punch, especially coming from debut writer/director Ben Dixon, whose one of the nicest guys around to boot. Definitely a surprise chiller ghost story that I enjoyed watching, especially for it's great cast.
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