A slow burn of a horror drama that doesn’t build toward quite enough of a blaze to be truly memorable, “Awaken the Shadowman
” nonetheless ranks a cut above the genre norm for its atmospheric and confident setup. This debut feature for director “J.S. Wilson
” (actually a pseudonym for the three scenarist-producers, two of whom are also the male leads) finds estranged brothers reunited over their mother’s disappearance, but increasingly troubled even more by weird goings-on in the town where they grew up. Some horror fans will decry the lack of gore — or even much violence — here. More discerning ones, however, may just lament that a film with such a strong first two-thirds grows rushed and underwhelming in the last lap.
After a brief prologue depicting an imperiled young woman and baby in 1964 Connecticut, we meet present-day protagonist Adam (James Zimbardi
), a Redding, Calif. construction worker struggling to meet the needs of his small family — to