Shadows Fall is the story of Senka (Dylan Quigg), a young widow who confronts and answers the question "What would you do for one more moment with someone you love?"
Co-written by Raj Jawa and Kuber Kaushik and directed by Aditya Vishwanath, Shadows Fall enters the realm of Lynchian filmmaking in telling the story of Senka, who opts for a supernatural route by making a deal with a demon for the life of her husband, Jonas (Jener Dasilva), and is quickly enveloped by the reality that she must live with the consequences of that deal, consequences that seemingly match her joy at the return of Jonas with a creeping terror and darkness invading their lives. Jonas, as one might expect, is not the man he once was upon his return, a reality that, perhaps, only the demon called Amis (Christian Wennberg) can truly understand while the world around her, including nosy neighbors Rain (Kinsey Diment) and Wilhelm (Talmage Tidwell), becomes increasingly impacted by the choices Senka has made.
Shadows Fall likely falls more within the realm of supernatural thriller with a core of moral questioning rather than a more traditionally horror spin, an approach not unlike the current theatrical release Demon, a Polish film that has conflicted audiences and critics alike with its non-traditional horror spin on a rather horrific, and its case real life, moral dilemma.
Shadows Fall doesn't go quite that deeply, instead opting for a more deeply personal tale involving a more deeply personal dilemma that has likely been faced by anyone who has lost someone they love?
What are the consequences of that "What if?"
As a film critic, one's job is to, of course, critically evaluate a film. It's not and it cannot be simply a "I liked this film" or "I didn't like this film," but offering up one's critical perspective woven into an honest, and objective as possible, evaluation of one's personal experiences with the film.
Of course, the genre of a film is in most cases irrelevant. When one says "drama," we all likely bring our own perspectives of drama into the viewing experience. The same is true of "horror," though even as I watched Demon I found myself believing that the film, a film I enjoyed immensely, did not fit within the confines of the usual traditional view in America of what it means to be a horror film.
Shadows Fall is such a film. It's a difficult to define film that will unquestionably attract its hardcore devotees and those who sort of shrug and say "Okay."
I am, quite honestly, in the "Okay" group. While I admired aspects of Shadow Falls's production, especially Artiom Maksimov's creative and atmospheric lensing and Neha Kandpal's special effects along with Clara Soler's art direction, much of the film didn't impact me the way that I'd hoped and would expect it to impact me. The film takes inspiration from Bram Stoker's Dracula, an inspiration that permeates every cell of the film.
How will you resonate with that inspiration? That will likely determine your appreciation of the film.
The film's ensemble cast capture's Vishwanath's vision for the film with Quigg's Senka eliciting an uncomfortable sympathy from moviegoers. The story goes different places and Vishwanath does a nice job of keeping it from every seeming too familiar. As Rain, Kinsey Diment also turns in a solid, dramatically impactful performance.
Shadows Fall is, in some ways, a difficult to describe film without over-spoiling the experience. Having premiered at Moscow's European Film Festival, the film is now getting prepped for its full festival run while distribution options are being explored. For more information on the film, visits its website linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic