Short synopsis (from the film’s website):
When a young couple move into a converted shop, they are filled with excitement and ideas as to how they will make the house their own. But it would appear the property is still clinging to its past, and unbeknown to them they are living inside its shadows.
Having recently watched The Orphanage (again), The Awakening, and The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, it seems clear that I’m a sucker for a slow-developing ghost story. This really isn’t a surprise, but it’s something that is reinforced with each movie I watch.
Inside Shadows fits comfortably into that genre. Calling it a slow-developing ghost story is a completely accurate description. It may even be even slower moving than the aforementioned films, which is really saying something, seeing as how none of those movies move at a breakneck pace. It’s very good once it gets moving, but it takes a little while to get to that point. It would be extremely easy to lose focus before the good stuff kicks in. The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh was slow, but it had a sense of tension that started early and kept up throughout the entire film. There was none of that here. This was more like Entrance: a slow-building movie that doesn’t really even try to build tension until late.
Once it gets going, it’s pretty good. And there are a handful of moments that hint at the upcoming insanity. They do a pretty good job at teasing it. But, like I said, it would be pretty easy to lose interest before it gets to that point, especially if you’re not in the right mood for this type of movie. It’s less a “slow burn” and more “lighting fireworks with punk sticks”.
Even when the craziness started, I had a couple issues with it. They felt the need to give a big musical blast every time the ghost appeared for an instant. It was somewhat reminiscent of the musical goosing we got when Michael Myers showed up in Halloween, but this less subtle. It was extremely distracting, and completely unnecessary. Seeing a shadowy figure appear in the background is startling by itself; there’s no need to throw it in our face.
I also had a pretty major problem with the decision-making of some of the characters late in the film. For spoiler reasons, I can’t really get into the specifics. Suffice it to say that a couple characters had some highly dubious logic late in this film. It almost ruined the movie for me.
It was well-acted, which was a definite plus. With so few actors involved, one weak link could ruin the whole movie. But the two leads (Chris Silver [who also directed this] & Sofia Haden) were terrific, as was Niamh Mulcahy. They are all extremely likable, which really helped. Even in the slow moments they kept me engaged, and kept me wondering what would happen next. I was rooting for all of them to make it through unscathed, and that’s important for a slow-developing movie to have.
Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this movie, but I didn’t love it like I hoped I would. Superficially, it suffers from the same problems that plague a lot of low-budget movies: mainly, poor lighting and inconsistent sound (although I will say that the sound was better here than a lot of low-budget movies I’ve seen). I’ve never had a problem getting past those things as long as the story is good, but, if you have a problem with those things, you should probably stay away.
But, if you like a good ghost story, it’s definitely worth giving a shot. It was pretty well-acted, and had a pretty cool style to it. Pick a quiet night, shut off all the lights, and dive in.