January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: John Stanley

Plot: What’s it about?

Well, lets roll the dice! That’s what I think of whenever I get ready to watch a Bram Stoker film. Some are good (dracula) some not so good (the mummy). But this one was a fortunate surprise, the film was directed by special effects giant Jaime Dixon. Jaime has done the visual effects for films like T2, Titanic and Lethal Weapon 3. Personally I think his directorial debut is a good one, and the story here is kinda cool and definitely original. It focuses on father Jacob Vassey played by Michael Rooker (eight men out, JFK) Father Vassey is a priest/bad-ass who knows the secret legend the shadowbuilder and will stop at nothing to destroy it. A child is born, a very special child, the shadowbuilder knows this and needs this child. The child is 12 year old Chris Hatcher played by Kevin Zegers. The shadowbuilder has chosen a good time to try and capture Chris, tomorrow is a total solar eclipse and the shadowbuilders strength and power derive from the darkness. Chris’s aunt/leagal guardian, Jenny is played by Leslie Hope (men at work)

As with most of Stokers films, Shadowbuilder involves a satanic spirit and someone trying to invoc it. A small group of evil priests succeed in summoning the shadowbuilder into this world. To go any deeper into this movie would simply give too much away. Believe it or not its true! I will say that this film offers some really good special effects and a cameo appearance by Tony Todd! (AKA The Candyman).

Like I said earlier Dixon’s debut is pretty good and the special effects he brings to the film are excellent. Rooker turns in a solid performance as usual. I didn’t really care for Kevin Zegers as young Chris, the child he plays could not be more of a stereotypical 12 year old and Zegers, in my opinion overacts the role. Overall this film is a winner as far as Bram Stoker films go. The acting overall was decent, directing was good, the effects were great. Rent it or maybe even buy it on sale, its worth at least that much.

Video: How does it look?

Shadowbuilder is presented in its original full screen pan-n-scan version and the picture is good. The constant play of shadow and light makes for great visuals and the effects really benefit from it. No bleeding or fading that I could see, not perfect but good.

Audio: How does it sound?

Dolby digital and you’ll be glad it has it because there’s a lot to hear. The sound is good, meaty bass, crisp highs and the usual screams and breaking glass are crisp. Nothing to be ashamed of here as far as sound.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A theatrical trailer (which is pretty good) cast bios and a full length commentary by Dixon. OK it was his first time directing so ill cut him some slack but to be quite honest, his commentary is BORING! Now there is another problem in this category, when you select to watch the film with the commentary, there’s no way to shut it off!!! Not joking, unless I got a defective disc or something you cant turn it off unless you cut the power on you DVD to reset the disc!! Unreal!!!Oh, and the movies box claims there’s production notes…I found none.

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