Shallow Ground (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
I suppose a lot of you regular readers think I hate
horror movies. That isn't true. I love horror movies. I don't like
werewolf movies and giant creature films, of course, but I love real
down-and-dirty, creepy, psychological, under-your-skin scary films
about people alone and vulnerable and terrified by mysterious forces
or circumstances they can't comprehend. Unfortunately, 99% of those
either totally suck or are barely-disguised remakes of previous
horror movies, but when they do work, they are what the movie-going
experience is all about: a safe, vicarious wave of emotions at an
intense level that you just can't experience in everyday life. We
love horror movies for a lot of the same reasons we love roller
coasters - because we want to experience the intense feelings humans
are capable of, but we don't actually want to get there by being in
danger of dying or feeling great pain.
Shallow Ground is a good, original horror movie. It doesn't feature much in the way of expensive effects or anything else that would cost much, and the cast consists of unfamiliar faces, and yet it looks like a professionally composed film and delivers spooky thrills, gore, and mystery using only a couple of basic elements: (1) an unpredictable, original story which combines various elements of thrillers, mysteries, and horror films; (2) excellent editing, which uses suggestion, music and surprise to maintain the suspense of the overall story while delivering some "jump" moments along the way.
One of the genre sites pointed out that it's the kind of movie that will get your date moving closer and closer to you as the story unfolds.
What is it about? Unfortunately, it is so original that I can't tell you very much. Suppose there was a movie where it was revealed halfway through the film that the sheriff was a vampire. If I told you in advance that it was a vampire movie, I'd fuck up everything for you, wouldn't I? Well, this movie is like that. (No, there are no vampires! That was a hypothetical example.)
I can give you an outline of how it sets up:
Just about anything else I could write would be a spoiler, and since the film is ingenious and innovative enough to try some new gimmicks and create a new horror mythology, you probably want to find the rest out from the plot development rather than from me.
A few additional, miscellaneous thoughts:
The film is not without problems. The script requires the characters to act too stupid too often, the acting is barely adequate, and the ending is just plain goofy. In spite of all that and the low budget, this film is still a keeper.
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