DVD Review: SHADOWZONE (1990)

PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

Review: Shadowzone (Grindhouse #12) / Cert: 18 / Director: J.S. Cardone / Screenplay: J.S. Cardone / Starring: Louise Fletcher, James Hong, David Beecroft / Release Date: Out Now

One of a bunch of recent releases from cult movie distributor 88 Films, this little-known offering by writer/director J.S. Cardone is a pleasant surprise. The setting is an old plutonium mine that has been turned into a underground laboratory run by shady Doctor Van Fleet (Hong). Captain Hickock (Beecroft), a NASA guy, has come to investigate the death of a human test subject. He discovers that the laboratory has being doing experiments into extended deep sleep, and that some of the test subjects have been interfacing with an unknown entity from another dimension. But then the entity comes a-calling, an arrival which triggers the facility's antiquated defence systems, and they all find themselves trapped inside the mine with just a short time before the power runs out.

Okay, not a wholly original plotline then, but the way in which Cardone handles it is pleasurably creepy and unexpectedly clever. – a bit like The Thing, but with a downbeat, Nigel Kneale-ish sensibility. The milieu is attractively rusty and rickety, the characters complex and flawed, and the script poses credible conundrums for the characters to worry about, springing some well-judged scare gags along the way.

It's also extremely well cast. Hong is as watchably OTT as ever as the untrustworthy Van Fleet. As Hickcock, Beecroft may not be a name to conjure with (he did stints on Falcon Crest and Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman) but he looks like Channing Tatum and makes for a decent furrow-browed lead. But what gives the whole film a real lift is an excellent performance from Louise (Nurse Ratched) Fletcher in a key role as Van Fleet's morally compromised but well-intentioned second in command – she's so good it makes you weep with frustration that she wasn't better appreciated by Hollywood.

The monster FX are a little under-powered, and this contributes to the slight slackening in tension in the final act. Overall, though, this is an intelligent and well-craft piece of cult SF that is long overdue for rediscovery. The DVD appears to have been sourced from a video, with a 4:3 ratio, a bit of wobble and very muted colours, but the effect is attractively ethereal and in keeping with the cult movie vibe of the whole affair.

Extras: Trailer


Suggested Articles:
Sean is a young American kid dealing with the usual array of teen problems: does the girl of his dre
After the mayor of small town Louisburg dies during a driving-sex-drugs mishap, it opens up the need
Richard Kelly is a director with a questionable back catalogue; Donne Darko was a film that brought
The vast and ongoing world of film releases is populated, for the most part, with a considerable amo
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE BURNING 09 December 2016

THE GUYVER (1991) 08 December 2016

SECOND NATURE 08 December 2016

DONNIE DARKO (2001) 08 December 2016

COHEN AND TATE (1988) 08 December 2016

HOTEL OF THE DAMNED 08 December 2016

ORION 08 December 2016

TALES OF POE 08 December 2016

KILL THE KING 08 December 2016

MAGNUM P.I. - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION 07 December 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144
Notice: Undefined index: sub_content in D:\inetpub\wwwroot\modules\mod_yt_content_slideshowii\tmpl\theme4.php on line 144