#390 — Shadow People (2013)
My mom borrowed this movie from my aunt, and she watched it before I got around to it. When I asked her what it was about, she said, “People talking about shadows.” I thought she was either joking, or she didn’t feel like explaining it to me. Turns out, she was kind of right. The idea for this is interesting, and it could have gone in a different direction. In other words, it could have been great. It claims that it was based on true events, and it seems like it was concentrating more on proving that than actually making a good movie.
At its very basics, I do believe these events are true. It focuses on a string of unexplained deaths that occurred somewhere in Kentucky. A bunch of people died in their sleep, and there was no discernible cause of death. They were completely healthy, with no diseases or family history of illnesses. Basically, they were dying for no good reason. I’m not sure about the supernatural implications the movie provided. I don’t know if the people in the actual cases believed it, or if it was the writers’ way of describing something that otherwise went unexplained. I looked into it a little bit, but I couldn’t find anything about the real case. I didn’t look very hard, but…whatever. We’re talking about a movie here.
It followed a guy named Charlie who was the host of a late night radio show. During one of his shows, a teenager called in. He was talking about shadows, being unable to sleep, and he was sure that he would die as soon as he closed his eyes. Who knows what was going on with this kid? He might have had mental problems, or might have been on drugs. But he was so sure of what was going on. He had a gun with him, and Charlie was trying to calm him down over the phone. But they heard a shot. The kid didn’t kill himself; he tried to shoot at one of the shadows. He was admitted to a hospital, where he died in his sleep. Before all of this happened, the kid sent Charlie a package full of information on the shadow people. Turns out, there had been recordings of this kind of thing for centuries, from all over the world.
Apparently, it started in Cambodia.
Charlie’s show wasn’t doing very well, and his producer began to exploit this kid’s death and the claims that he made. The story made their ratings skyrocket, but it made Charlie deteriorate, mentally. He started to believe. After a lot of research, they discovered that it was the belief that was creating the shadow people. Once they got the idea in their heads, they got scared. And once they got scared, their minds conjured up the images of the shadow people, and they died from fear. Charlie’s show created a kind of mass hysteria, and he was actually sued by that kid’s parents. He found a video of some experiments that he believed was the cause of the problem, and he was going to show it on the news; but he thought that it would spread too much fear. So instead, he told them that it was a hoax to boost his ratings. He continued to believe in the shadow people, and he may or may not have died because of it. The information was still released to the public, however, and I can only imagine what happened afterward.
All of these things actually happened. All of the characters were based on real people, their names were not changed, and it had footage of interviews throughout the movie. I’m not sure I believe the supernatural side of it, like I said — I believe what the CDC lady in the movie said: the placebo effect. If they believed it, it would hurt them. Still, the idea of something like that is pretty frightening.
As for the movie, it was kind of boring. My mom said it was people talking about shadows, and it pretty much was. It only showed the shadow people a couple of times, and they were a bit creepy. But there just wasn’t enough action. The documentary half of the movie was interesting at first, but then I felt that it was distracting. It took me away from the creepiness, and it hindered the movie more than it helped. Like I said, it felt like they were trying to prove that their “based on a true story” claim was not a marketing ploy. Sure, I believe it. But I wasn’t entertained by it. Dallas Roberts (Milton from The Walking Dead!) was great as Charlie, though. So there’s that.