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Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Among the Shadows

Director: Tiago Mesquita
Screenplay: Mark Morgan
Year: 2019

Vampires and werewolves had been combined in plenty of movies and stories. Both mythical creatures live in war against humans, which are usually their principal or exclusive food source, but a lot of times they are also rivals. Each movie has its own variant of these creatures, which makes it difficult to have a definitive stereotype of them, but at the same time keeps them interesting. In the world of horror movies, the movies from the “Underworld” series are the most known for using both creatures, as well as its protagonists Selene. “Among the Shadows” tries to imitate some things from “Underworld” and Selene, but in a very bad way.

In “Among the Shadows” the uncle of Kristen Wolfe, a descendant from a line of werewolves, is killed. While she tries to find the reason for this killing, she discovers that a dangerous war is about to take place in the underworld. Wolfe must use her innate instinct to unravel this case and keep herself alive long enough to unmask the conspiracy.

Since the start of the movie you can see its two major sins tied together, one that it had an adjusted budget (estimated in $12 million) and that the director Tiago Mesquita did not know how to properly use it. Truth be told, I was impressed when I saw the budget of the movie, as I would have thought that it had been made with a lot less money. In these starting scenes, it gives the vibe more of a straight to tv series that a movie, with shots and music out of place for a horror movie of this kind. Then the first actors and their dialogs appear and here I lost any hope I had for this movie to be at least entertaining.

The screenwriter Mark Morgan (“Creative Differences”) presents a boring and not very creative story, accompanied by unreal, monotonous, and repetitive dialogues. The editing process also contributes to worsening the delivery of the dialogues as the shot changes make the dialogues look like individual parts stuck together instead of flowing organically. On top of that, the acting is bad and aggravate the already disastrous script, which is surprising from a group of experimented actors. This movie is starred by Charlotte Beckett (“Penny Dreadful”), Gianni Capaldi (“River Runs Red”), and Lindsay Lohan (“I Know Who Killed Me”), and from all the participating actors, it is Lohan who does a better performance, but still deficient.

The production work, as everything in this movie, does not manage to be effective. The visual effects are in its majority disappointing and the filming quality, in general, does not represent its budget and it seems like it was done with a quarter of it. During the action scenes, the shaky camera technique is used, which in this case serves the purpose of preventing the viewer to focus on the fight sequences and disguise the weakness of the cast in this aspect. The visuals and soundtrack are not used effectively either to create a sinister or tense ambiance.

“Among the Shadows” tries to bring public using the name of Lohan as an attractive, as well as imitating certain things of the “Underworld” series and trying to make the most out of the nostalgia from them. None of this is enough to outweigh the awful work of everyone involved in this project, which ends up being a movie that does not manage to approve at anything: bad acting, boring screenplay, and shameful special effects. “Among the Shadows” will, without a doubt, be in the worst movies of 2019 lists.

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