Dir. Gav Chuckie Steel
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Sam Raimi had EVIL DEAD. Peter Jackson had BAD TASTE. The Soska Sisters had DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. And now Gav Chuckie Steel has THE SHADOW OF DEATH. All made with a miniscule budget and all became cult classics. Steel's feature debut has all the makings to become this generation’s EVIL DEAD with its wry humour and gory scenes of sheer terror.
Setting up with the beheading of a woman in the woods, there are no holds barred in this slasher film set in the English woodland in the middle of nowhere. Nancy, Debra, Jamie and Dan head out looking for some weed to lighten up their day. The story pretty much ends there as one by one the group are knocked off one by one by a mysterious black cloaked killer.
Many bystanders get killed in rather innovative fashion (death by bong!?) and Dan Bone gives a career starting performance as the comedian of the film, Special Police Officer Craven.
Great kudos goes to Steel who has made a tried and tested formula that beats back to the classics of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s feel fresh. This film wears its influences on its sleeve and while not imitating it’s art but rather referencing it’s heroes, THE SHADOW OF DEATH is nigh on brilliant. You won’t find a spec of CGI on this film as hands get sliced off, stabbing and disembowelling with a bottle and bludgeoned with a baseball bat, the magic in this film is done the old fashioned way that makes the CGI riddled blockbusters of late look like a PG-13.
The sound dubbing and script, especially the bird watcher who gets his eyes replaced with binoculars is reminiscent of Peter Jacksons origins and maybe, just maybe, Gav Chuckie Steel may follow in his idols footsteps.
Made on a rumoured budget of only £250 it shows how a good film can be made on a budget but don’t be fooled, this will give even some of Hollywood’s big bucks a run for its money. Mixing the realistic drama of the group of friends with comedy and in the last 20 minutes the film is as terrifying as it is gripping, this has been crafted “from a horror fan, for horror fans” and it’s no surprise that in the thanks of the film, one Sylvia Soska turns up.
An independent film done on a back pocket budget that has to be seen to be believed. This is a film to watch and all fans of horror should be picking this up as soon as it’s available.