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on March 15, 2013
Rarely do I come across anything in my viewing of horror movies that makes me jumpy or paranoid after turning the TV off. Most times I enjoy the film and then go on about my business with no worries. However, every once in a while a true gem of fear comes along and leaves its imprint on me as I shut off all the lights in the house and head to bed. Matthew Arnold's "Shadow People" had me searching the walls and windows for ghastly spots of unexplained darkness after watching it.

Participants in an experimental sleep study in the 1970s report seeing strange shadowy figures. They and several hundred other individuals die in their sleep soon after. The phenomenon was given the name SUNDS, which stands for "Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome." Doctors wouldn't talk about the shadows.

In the present, failing radio talk show host Charlie Crowe begins receiving calls from a teenager claiming shadowy intruders are coming for him. At first, Charlie believes the kid is mentally ill. His theory is challenged when the boy dies in his sleep. Things get even weirder when listeners of his talk show and people he tells about the mysterious shadowy figures begin dying in their sleep. Are these clusters of deaths a coincidence or are there sinister nocturnal forces at work?

"Shadow People" takes the sort of ideas our nightmares are made of and puts them in a visual package. Everything you've ever thought about someone or something watching you in your sleep is brought to life in this creepy little indie film.

Director Matthew Arnold shows great promise through his mastery of timing. He has a knack for setting up what you would expect to be your typical jump scare and somehow delivering it in an off-tempo manner that leaves the viewer surprised and shuddering.

I can't say I completely agree with every choice of filmmaking he used for "Shadow People." The movie is presented in the manner of many true crime TV shows are. It's a re-enactment of "true events" with the actual people involved giving their commentary along the way. The concept is interesting but gets a bit distracting as the terror unfolds.

Many religious individuals would express their belief that shadow people are demons or evil spirits. Much like in "The Possession" or "The Exorcist," the person has brought something into their house that allowed the entity access. I am of that mindset more so than any other concept brought up in this.

If I were to compare "Shadow People" to other movies out there just as a way to spark people's interest, "The Ring" and "The Apparition" immediately come to mind. By no means is this a carbon copy of either of those films. They just came to mind as I sat watching it.

The audio and video transfers for "Shadow People" look and sound good. A few of the ghostly scenes created by CGI suffer in a high definition format, but it doesn't ruin the overall viewing experience. The musical jolts used in the movie's score will have the audience pulling their heads out of the ceilings of their living rooms.

The only special feature included on this Blu-ray release is a featurette entitled "'Shadow People:' More to the Story." It gives viewers exactly what it claims to: more information about the phenomenon known as "Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome" (SUNDS). It's short, but offers additional data to think about as you lie in bed eyes wide and darting around your room as you attempt to drift off to sleep.

"Shadow People" is that rare horror movie that leaves a lasting impression on its audience. The fear might wear off over time, but you'll never completely stop thinking about it. We all wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, feeling like something is sitting on us, or thinking we're being watched. Is it just our imagination or could it be the shadow people?
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on March 22, 2013
I thought this was going to be just another independent horror film with bad acting and cheap special effects. Even at the beginning when the "true story" introduction came out I thought "here we go one of those stupid Blare Witch knock offs" (not that I liked Blare Witch). It is not a "Found Footage film" it is a movie with real life footage seamlessly inserted throughout the film and this also made it different than most true story films. I also believe this makes the film better because you are getting to see the real people instead of having to wait till the end like many other true event movies and from the beginning it was interesting. As the movie went on, the mix between real footage and the movie footage that was very well done, the film captivated me. Watching this at home by myself one evening I can't recall another independent film literally at times sending chills throughout my body. I am not a person that is easily scared but I found myself looking around the room even after the movie ended. The film was very well filmed, the script was well done, and the cast was very believable. All in all this movie is well worth the watch.
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on March 21, 2013
If you've seen one independent horror film, you probably think you've seen them all. The genre is typically defined by a set of rigid features: wooden acting commensurate with your typical community college theatre production, shaky camerawork and cinematography which barely serves to convey the narrative in only its most rudimentary sense, and a plot with more holes than O.J. Simpson's alibi.

Shadow People, however, is not your typical indie horror flick. Dallas Roberts (The Walking Dead) does an exceptional job of playing Charlie Crowe, a small-town talk radio host who gets caught up in the mystery of the shadow people after a late-night call from a disturbed listener. His exploration into the phenomenon makes the film as much mystery or suspense thriller as pure horror and is spliced together with documentary footage. The resulting mode of storytelling is both effective and novel, making suspension of disbelief (a major problem with most horror films) that much easier and enhancing the overall feel of the film.

The film's camerawork and cinematography in general is reminiscent of a much larger production. Roberts' emotional range is expertly captured, inviting the audience to share in his brushes with the uncanny. Outdoor pans manage to give the audience a strong feel for the insular Kentucky setting in only a few seconds here and there. Lighting in the film's more traditionally "scary" scenes is viscerally creepy without being over the top. The overall effect conjures up several great horror films of the past, with a dash of film noir for good measure. Sound is equally well done, serving to enhance the ambiance.

Again, Shadow People is not your typical indie horror film. It is instead a well-crafted exploration of an all too familiar phenomenon (sleep paralysis, shadowy figures caught in the corner of one's eye in the middle of the night) that manages to be both suspenseful and genuinely creepy, and just might just have you dreading the next time you have to sleep alone. Definitely worth a watch.
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on February 8, 2014
I keep reading how the radio host was an invention despite the fact that the movie is dedicated to him. The actor who played him- his name escapes me but I do like him- stated in an interview that he received actual footage of the real guy and he chose not to use it because they were so different. He just used his actor's craft to portray him instead. Poor guy- the real one, I mean. I haven't been able to find a cause of death for him though. If anyone knows, please share.
The movie is very well done and very interesting. The insertion of actual footage makes it unique but it also breaks the flow of the film and kept reminding me that it was a film, so there's a positive and negative effect there. However, I think it is more positive than negative and it is, after all what they were going for. Its one of those, reality is stranger than fiction things. Definitely worth a watch for a horror junkie.
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on May 19, 2013
Now I will start off by saying yes this movie is quite boring and not much happens. It's more about the subject and plot of this movie which is about the shadow people. Something to do with creatures or entities that live in or are shadows and attack people at night when you go to sleep mostly. Not the greatest movie but the subject matter I think is very interesting and thats why I'm rating it a 4 instead of a 3 and the fact that when I watched this it actually scared me a bit. I was by myself in my house watching this in the dark before bed so it was a perfect storm. Normally movies don't scare me at all but something about this one just hit a nerve and I'm still thinking about it a day later and checking the corners at night for some shadows that shouldn't be there. So I guess the movie did it's job fully because I'm still creeped out a bit. Acting not so hot but not terrible and like I said a very very slow movie with minimal shocks. Just the overall atmosphere is a little tense.Worth a rent for sure and a buy if it's cheap enough. Just make sure if you wanna get creeped a little then watch it in the dark by yourself before bed. Sweet dreams.
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on March 30, 2013
This is an interesting film about SUNDS, Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome. A Baton Rogue (or there about) night time talk show host, Charlie Crow (Dallas Roberts) has a call-in guest who dies from SUNDS having predicted his death on air. He blames the "Shadow People" who come for him. Alison Eastwood (Clint's daughter) is called in from the CDC to investigate.

The film incorporates "actual footage" of the real host "Charlie Camfield" and various news feeds. The people in these "actual films" are different than the actors portraying them in order to give the film a sense of realism. I believe they are uncredited actors as the film also includes police interrogation films as well as people/news casters who do not exist in the world of Google.

Dallas Roberts did a good job, but the script was bland. Your villain is "shadow people" who only come if you imagine them. This is not a documentary about the syndrome. The scare factor doesn't exist... until you go to sleep. A well done interesting film that goes nowhere.

Actual studies are interesting as it appears people suffer heart fibrillation while sleeping. Younger males are most susceptible with epilepsy, stress (from relocation) and perhaps diet prior to bedtime (carbs) being linked as contributing factors.

Parental Guide: 1 f-bomb, brief rear nudity
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I watched a few scary movies recently while my family was away. Out of the four or so that I watched, this movie is my favorite. It's pretty creepy, the acting is good, and it's not a gore fest. This movie is just a good, creepy, kinda scary movie. Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts) is a late night radio talk show host who gets a call from a very frightened kid who says he can't sleep or the shadow People will get him. Charlie thinks at first that this is some hoax or the kid is mental, but when he ends up dead, Charlie starts to do some digging into the myth of the Shadow People (who, I guess are documented-though before watching this film, I'd never heard of them-which actually creeps me out even more). Charlie's radio show begins to skyrocket in popularity when the subject of Shadow People is discussed on his show by callers who want to talk about their own experiences with the scary Shadow People. Charlie uncovers some interesting work done by a sleep doctor may point to the existence of the monsters.

Dallas Roberts does a great job portraying Charlie Crowe and carries most of the movie, though, Allison Eastwood does a good job as a woman working for the CDC who is in Crowe's neck of the woods to check out the mysterious deaths that have been occurring in the area.

If you like scary movies but don't like the blood baths many turn into, you might like this one. It tickles the scary bone without going over board.
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on September 21, 2014
I have had sleep paralysis since I was a little boy, so I was looking forward to seeing this movie. It does suffer from Hollywooditis in that it makes it very ridiculous. I would rather watch a documentary like the upcoming project "The Nightmare" by Rodney Ascher. The symptoms are very terrifying and I have heard, seen, and felt some of the craziest hallucinations during sleep paralysis episodes throughout my life, and this movie just ridiculed it with horror movie cliche crud.
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on June 18, 2015
Not at all what I was expecting! But, that's a good thing! I started to watch SHADOW PEOPLE kind of "by mistake". I was just kind of looking around for a "horror/thriller" movie and it caught my eye. I'm VERY glad that it did! I'd never even heard of this little gem of a movie. Where did it come from? I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved the way they accentuated the story with "real-life" footage, not just "found footage", as so many movies are relying on today.
From the first scene to the last scene, it just keeps getting creepier and creepier, as the viewer can't help but be completely pulled in to the story.
Everyone can relate to this film. We've all experienced nightmares and I think I can safely say that we've all had our little "bump in the night" scares at one time or another. And, I especially loved one of the first exchanges between the nighttime "radio talk show host" and the "scared young man" when he asked, "How can you stop thinking about something that you're trying to stop thinking about?"Good question! I'd definitely recommend this film.
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on March 25, 2013
This film had me literally jumping out of my seat! Great acting, directing, cinematography and storyline. A must watch, especially if you like scary movies, I couldn't even sleep the night I saw it. Shadow people delivers as believable, great storyline along with true accounts.
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