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Shadow People (Blu-ray and DVD)

Manufacturer: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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You may or may not have heard about the legend of the Shadow People (which also happens to be the name of this movie). Called "Bakhtak" in Persia, "Kanashibari" in Japan, "Subirse el Muerto" in Mexico, and "Suk Ninmyo" in New Guinea, the Shadow People are supposedly ghosts or spirits or maybe just figments of the imagination. But there have been actual reports of people seeing these Shadow People.

Victims report waking from sleep to find themselves paralyzed, a noise buzzing in their head, while a shadowy figure stands over them and watches. Others report the figure actually climbing on top of them while their bodies remain motionless. The sightings have been reported around the world, but people don't like to talk about it because they say if you think about the Shadow People, that's how they find you.

Whether or not you believe the legend may also determine your enjoyment of this film. If you're very susceptible and frighten easily, then Shadow People may spook you. The film is based on a true story about small town radio personality Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts) who investigates a conspiracy about encounters with mysterious beings. It all begins with a phone call to his radio show. The caller is frantic and keeps telling Charlie that he's seeing things… shadows that are coming to get him. The caller believes it so deeply that while still on the air, he takes his own life by shooting himself with a handgun. As Charlie explores further, his path crosses with CDC Epidemic Intelligence Agent Sophie Lancombe (Alison Eastwood). Together they try to solve the mystery and end up discovering some unbelievable things.

The film explores the actual historical evidence of SUNDS (Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome) and the real phenomenon of an inverse placebo effect, where the mind can kill the body via false belief. Shadow People uses real archival footage of Charlie doing his radio show, newcasts on television, as well as eyewitness interviews. It juxtaposes the footage with scenes from the film, which blends the story fairly well. The footage comes from a suspected outbreak of SUNDS, which occurred in rural Kentucky.

Presented on Blu-ray and DVD, Shadow People provides good picture and audio… similar to what you'd expect from films of this genre. The digital enhancement has been engineered to make the film look dark, despairing, and bleak, which presents the story with the appropriate presence and feel. The audio is also very good with nice ambient effects that also present the story well. Unfortunately, there's only one bonus: a 13 minute featurette called Shadow People: More to the Story. It provides interviews with paranormal researcher Paul Taitt and Professor David J. Hufford, but most of what they discuss seems pretty far fetched.

Do Shadow People really exist? I don't know. Do I believe it? Not really, although I do like to keep an open mind. SUNDS, on the other hand, could very well be real. The mind is very powerful and if you truly believed that you were dying, I think it's possible that just thinking it could make it come true. There were some "thrill" moments for me while watching the film, but it didn't really scare me overall. So I think your level of enjoyment of Shadow People will probably be determined by two things: if you're a fan of the found footage genre and whether or not you scare easily. If yes to both, then you may enjoy this film.

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