Length: 89 minutes
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Director: Matthew Arnold
Charlie Crowe (Dallas Roberts, "The Walking Dead") is the stereotypical down on his luck guy. His wife left him for man with more money and now has custody of his daughter. He works as a radio DJ, but his show is on a weird time slot, which means that he doesn't have many fans. Just as he thinks that things couldn't get any worse, he gets a phone call from a young man who talks about the shadow people following him before killing himself on air.
Charlie quickly discovers that people tuned in to that show, and those people now become his biggest fans. Almost anywhere he goes, they stop him on the street to talk about the caller. While some think he's full of shit, others believe his rantings about the shadow people. He also gets a package in the mail that talks about these so-called shadow people. The more he starts researching the mysterious figures, the more he discovers that his former caller might have been telling the truth all along.
"Shadow People" is one of those films that's hard to describe. It uses the found footage genre to a point, mixing fake found footage with filmed footage featuring Roberts and other actors. The film wants us to believe that Crowe was a real DJ who lived through everything portrayed in the film. It even introduces a young actor to play Crowe's son as he discusses the changes that he noticed in his father.
The end result is a little jarring at times. We'll see Roberts for 15 to 20 minutes, and then the film throws in some footage of an older man talking about his own experiences. While the mixture can sometimes work, it winds up being the downfall of the film especially at the end. The "real" Crowe appears on film to say that he made everything up and that it was all a lie. After spending an entire film watching the "real" events unfold, it's annoying to reach that conclusion. Granted, Crowe supposedly did it to save his town, but it still comes across as something of a cheat.
Roberts is without a doubt the standout of the film. Having watched him this season on "The Walking Dead" and seeing him as the bad guy/serial killer in "The Factory," it's nice to see him as the hero. He has believable chemistry with the boy playing his son, and he even has nice chemistry with the actress playing his ex-wife. The two snip and snap at each other in the same way that a real divorced couple might fight.
"Shadow People" is a low budget film, but it's easy to overlook the budget. It has some interesting elements and a nice storyline, but the mixture of found footage and traditional footage is sometimes a little irritating. I almost wish the director stuck with the main story and let Roberts and the other cast members tell the story because those were the best moments.