A woman finds herself trapped in the dark, being stalked by shadows of people who are not there.
Aside from directing DC's Shazam! (2019) and Annabelle: Creation (2017), David F. Sandberg is renowned for his premise-driven psychological horror shorts. One thing that is plain to see from all of his work in the short film arena, is how much fun he has crafting these tiny nuggets of terror. Not allowing a silly thing like a lockdown amid a global pandemic stop him and his tireless partner in (fictional) crime Lotta Losten, Sandberg rises to the challenge of creating a claustrophobic spectre-infested scenario, in which Losten plays a woman trapped in her house, surrounded by intruders visible only by their shadows.
With the film itself being so short, it is notable that Sandberg and Losten, working as a 2-person team, are able to establish both an atmosphere of threat and the nature of that threat so quickly without rushing. Losten plays the role of victim without departing from common sense or lapsing into immediate helplessness. Instead she uses her well-honed ability to blend anxiety and curiosity, thus providing the perfect audience stand-in as she investigates the shadow phenomenon, first discovering that the shadows are being cast by objects that she cannot see and secondly that she can still touch these objects. In a single action Sandberg and Losten establish how this subject of curiosity will become a cause of peril later on.
Atmosphere is everything in films like this and Sandberg’s lighting and sound design work overtime to mould Shadowed’s enclosed world. Employing everything from simple backlighting and uplighting from Losten’s torch to complex compositing (watch the video Good Enough to see how this film was made), there is a broad spectrum of filmmaking craft on display here, all combining to create, not so much a story but an experience.
The previously-mentioned grand old time Sandberg and Losten appear to have with this movie, translates to a highly enjoyable horror experience for the viewer. Effective and affecting Shadowed is a masterclass in genre filmmaking and the highest levels of film craft.
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Studio: Ponysmasher | Year: 2020 | Genre: Horror/Thriller | Duration: 3 Mins | Suitability: Mature