6 October 2013 | TdSmth5
Enjoy it for what it is.
A serial killer/voodoo practitioner is executed in jail. But something happens and he explodes instead. His blood flows through prison and turns the inmates into zombies. The warden orders all shot and they bury them in the yard.
Years later the jail is now for females only. Some supposedly tough chick called Solitaire is incarcerated. She doesn't want to deal with anyone, but trouble finds her nonetheless. We meet the usual jail characters. The nice but clueless warden, her gorgeous enforcer, the baddest inmate of them all, her gang, and her servant (the lovely Erin Brown), a pregnant nice girl, the evil Dr who experiments on the girls by injecting them with someone's mysterious and powerful blood.
Things quickly turn violent between Solitaire and the bad muscular girl. But Solitaire also starts having visions about the voodoo guy. And whenever blood flows, the earth will suck it up, and people too end up disappearing. The pregnant girl gives birth to some monster baby. And voodoo guy is resurrected together with his army of zombies. That will lead to the eventual confrontation between Solitaire and voodoo guy.
Shadow: Dead Riot was somewhat of a revelation. Trailers of it looked quite awful, but it's a surprisingly good movie. It's not perfect or even good all around. In fact it's like two movies made by two different sets of people. One movies looks good, is well-acted, well-lit. The other looks cheap, is poorly acted, and boring.
When this movie is good, it's very good, it has a bit of the 70s look and feel to it and music by Vernon Reid. The action and fight scenes are outstanding, performances are good, the zombie aspect is also well done with lots of attention to detail, stunts are superb and there's some gore and a bit of nudity.
The problems though include the main character and the lead actress, poor acting by some actors, the cheap CGI effects, the lighting in some sets, the live sound with pronounced echo.
Usually movies that combine different genres altogether don't work at all. But Shadow does. It's a women-in-prison movie with lots of fights inspired by the precision of martial arts, with zombies, and the supernatural. All of these aspects work very well. And I'm more than willing to overlook the negative aspects, after all this isn't a A-level or even B-movie. It's a C+ movie that dared to be different. I wish there had been more emphasis on the women-in-prison theme, more nudity, more gore, more of Andrea Langi, Ruby Larocca and Erin Brown.
Shadow was produced by the same team that produced Flesh for the Beast, another excellent C level horror movie that I'm very fond of and that is overall more consistent than Shadow. Here they had to compromise a bit more but they also took more chances and tried to make an ambitious movie with few resources.
If you give Shadow a fair chance you won't be disappointed.