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  • Martin, a man who hunts parasitic vampire-like beings, invades a couple's apartment and tells them that the creatures are after him, and unless the happy young couple fight back, they'll die. This independent horror film, made for a slim 250,000 Canadian dollars, has the typical problems you'd expect from a film of this caliber—poor special effects, at times uneven acting, and somewhat amateurish look. It is, however, surprisingly well-written, and had the film had a bigger budget could have been very good. While lead actor William MacDonald gives a decent performance, the other principal actors, Bryce McLaughlin and Courtney Kramer, were often below-average and made the otherwise good dialogue seem wooden and forced. Writer/director Mark Tuit has done alright considering his low-budget, though several scenes appeared to be shot on DV and thus look cheap. His fore is clearly writing—the script is intelligent and interesting, and there were several genuine surprises here and there. I hope Tuit pens more horror films in the future; his script here exhibits more intelligence than about 70% of the crap Hollywood produces. The special effects are cheaply done and usually unconvincing, though there is a LOT of gore here (decapitations, anyone?).

    With a bigger budget this could have been a fine horror flick. The script was there but the resources weren't; as a result the film looks and feels like a low-budget cheapie at times. Still better than average though.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was expecting pretty much nothing from SHELF LIFE... and, surprisingly, I got a lot more out of it. For a shot-on-video shoe-string production I must say this one didn't waste my time. Why? Because the film-makers really made an effort on mostly all levels. It looks a bit cheap, sometimes, but the camera-moves are there (well, most of the time, at least). Director/producer/writer Mark Tuit even wrote a rather interesting story too (a different take on vampires). Decent enough camera-work throughout most of the movie (even though in some scenes Mark Tuit tends to make his shots a bit too long, if you ask me - a little faster cutting could have made the film benefit from it, especially in the conversation scenes). Now, you will have to get passed the below-par acting from the whole cast, although you can clearly see they really gave it their best shot. Always applaudable, and they're certainly not the worst actors ever. William MacDonald - as said before in other comments on here - did a pretty neat job portraying Martin, the vampire hunter (our should I say: parasite hunter...?) with a nasty drug habit. If you can dig the semi-philosophical utterings & quotes coming from him, you can certainly find an added value in this movie (which I kinda did - although he did do it a lot, making the movie suffer a bit from overly long talkative scenes). Bryce McLaughlin, on the other hand, couldn't convince at all, I'm sad to say. But like I said, you can tell he tried.

    Then there's the gore & blood effects. The movie isn't really stuffed with them, but when they do come on, they don't skimp on it . You also won't see the best prosthetic cut-off heads ever or the best splatter-effects (because of budget-restrictions, I'm guessing, not lack of talent or creativity), but the way it was all executed, worked very well. So, in short: Interesting story, fun occasional gore-effects, below-par acting, decent camera-work & directing (some inventive shots even, mostly involving effects), the music is a hit & miss - I'm talking about all the songs coming from various bands here, not the orchestrated score - (and they just used too much of it throughout the movie, in my opinion), cheapie look & feel sometimes (but that's forgivable). Also worth a look are some of the features on the extra's menu. I quite enjoyed the alternative opening sequences and there's also a split-screen version of a scene already in the movie (including extra footage), giving more background info on the main character Martin. I would have loved seeing that 'split-scene' in the movie. It worked very well, and as far as 'experimental story-telling' goes, it would have fitted perfectly in a low-budget production like this.

    I can imagine some people might find this little film pretty boring or something. So it's not for all tastes. But nevertheless, I actually could take it seriously. So... Tired of big budget blockbuster horror? Searching for something that's a little different? You might want to consider giving SHELF LIFE (aka SUBHUMAN) a try.
  • jaunty10112 September 2006
    Take it for what it is a low budget film I believe that this film is one of the most under rated film I've ever scene, yes the script is a little bland for some of the other charters but all this is made up by the fact that Martin (William MacDonald) has some brilliant lines.

    Martin charter is one of the best I've ever seen being abit of a philosopher I love the Nietzsche aspects of his actions and speech and this film could of simply have been two hours of him in a room ranting and id have watched it.

    If this film would have had a bigger budget it wouldn't have been the same, the bar seen is a grate example of right number of people right time, if you want a club full of helpless people or 1000's of vampires get blade. The money could have been spent on big budget stars or better CGI that's true but then again it would lose its appeal.

    If you were to give me a choice between this and the matrix or the war of the worlds crappy remake I will take shelf life (subhuman) every time
  • When I got hold of the DVD of Shelf Life, or called on the continent Subhuman I only saw the review available on the DVD sleeve itself. Splatter, gorehounds, for fans of Alien and Evil Dead. Well, they tricked me to buy it.

    It isn't a bad flick but it didn't deliver what I expected from it. The acting was okay and the way it was filmed was okay but you could easily see that it was a low budget. I rather forget the words Alien and Evil Dead, I would rather say that it is in the line of Blade. We do have a vampire hunter playing the main lead. On that part, the story was okay but there was just too much of talking in it. There are a few scene's at a bar and one of them is way too long to keep you attracted to this flick. On the other hand, the killings are mostly decapitations and it is okay but there are so many in this flick and it's always the same shot we see, once the head is removed you see the back of the decapitated one. Some parts were okay like going in the neck once the head was removed to search for some proof to show that he was right. I won't go into that because I would spoil the flick. As I said, the acting was rather good and overall it was okay but their could have been so many other ways to kill. I guess if they should had some money it would have been a rather "splatter" flick for the gorehounds.

    Gore 2/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 2/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Shelf Life starts as two young female Vampire like parasites named April (Erika Conway) & Amy (Heather Keetbaas) picking a guy named Duncan (Craig March) up in a bar, they entice him into an alley outside where they are about to drink his blood when monster hunter Martin (William MacDonald) suddenly pops up & cuts one of the Vampire creatures head off & runs after the other although during the pursuit Martin is hit by a car driven by a young couple named Ben (Bryce McLaughlin) & Julie (Courtney Kramer). They take Martin back to their apartment where he tells them that he hunts these Vampirie type creatures down & kills them by decapitation. Of course neither Ben or Julie believe a word of it until they see proof with their own eyes, now Ben & Julie must become like Martin & battle these creatures to stay alive & protect the human race, a human race who are blind to their very existence...

    This Canadian production was written, co-executive produced, co-produced & directed by Mark Tuit who also has a small role in the film, personally I thought it was OK & something a bit different. The script takes itself extremely seriously & moves along at a fair pace although the basic concept of a secret society of Vampires & creatures feeding on human blood is not a new one but the basic story is a little different as Ben & Julie are introduced into a world they never knew existed, a savage world & a world from which they will never be able to leave. The end where Martin hands the job over to Ben is rather predictable. Shelf Life is a sort of low budget Blade (1998) but that's where the similarities start & finish, a very low budget Blade & the parasite creatures have a tongue like thing that shoots out of their mouth which resembles those the Reaper Vampires have in Blade II (2002). The action scenes are tame, the gore is alright but hardly realistic & I'm not sure why so much emphasis is given to the taking of drugs & alcohol as that seems to be all Martin ever does & a large portion of the story is about drugs & people getting high. Maybe the filmmakers were trying to say something about drugs in todays society, or maybe they weren't. I thought it was an OK way to pass the time but nothing outstanding.

    Director Tuit likes to have Martin talk total nonsense, some of the lines he comes out with have to be heard to be believed. The obvious low budget hampers things, the action scenes aren't exciting, it isn't scary & there aren't any shocks plus there's a complete lack of atmosphere. The CGI effects are kept to a minimum which was a wise decision considering how poor they are. There are a few decapitations, a Shogun Assassin (1980) inspired scene when two people have their feet severed at the ankle & fair amount of spurting blood but it all looked a bit fake & had little impact as far as I'm concerned. There are certainly gorier films out there.

    Technically Shelf Life is a pretty poor film & has low production values, has a bland unlikable look to it & is all rather forgettable. The special effects are not too convincing. The acting was OK considering, MacDonald as Vampire hunter Martin was pretty intense & those two Vampire birds at the start were pretty hot. Most of the character's in Shelf Life are very unlikable.

    Shelf Life, a title which refers to the life expectancy of one of these Vampire hunters, was an OK watch & I have to give the filmmakers some credit for a vaguely interesting story & trying something different. Worth a watch if you like these low budget independent shot-on-video horror films but for those with slightly more demanding tastes I'd give it a miss.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After 3 installments of Blade one could think the vampire genre was used up, however this movie - which leans heavily on the blade franchise- tries to prove otherwise. As a matter of fact you got the same thing here as you had with the resurrection - no pun intended..well sort of not intended- with the zombie genre- first you had the remake of dawn of the dead and then came all the cheap rip offs of people that had a couple of friends and their mothers make up box and thought it was cool to make a zombie movie. In other words, this flick has some decent ideas and lets face it after blade 3 you couldn't go wrong but it never really works out because of the lack of money. On the other hand this does lead to some funny scenes like the way the various body parts land with a plastic sound in garbage bins and bath tubs and the creative camera-work used in scenes that need FX. So the FX don't work.. what also doesn't work is the way the lead hero - a white version of blade on a shoestring budget- talks when he is not trying to kill these vampire thingies. Never knew the likes of the lone blade like warriors had such deep inner thoughts.

    I saw this movie 2 days ago and I am trying to think of some recommendable values that would lure you into seeing this and giving away 90 or so minutes of your life. Problem is I cant find any, if you saw blade and liked it leave it at that and skip this one. Not recommended at all except as a start for a quick and good nights sleep.

    Btw, some extra fun can be found at IMDb when reading the cast and crew list.. seems that almost everyone that worked on this movie was suckered in to produce it.. I sure hope they had more fun making it as I had watching it.