By Dr. Rhonda Baughman | March 2, 2004

Things that annoy me almost to the point of violence: cuckoo clocks, mini-vans with vanity plates, mini-vans in general, people who drive mini-vans, rhyming poetry, and movies that start out in a killer fashion and just plain blow it by the end.

Read my words, you adorable little indie filmmakers: Stop it with the submissions that are so f*****g long your audience will hate you, no matter what, by the time the film is over. Say whatever you want – that’s fine. Say it in whatever medium you think works best – that’s also kosher. But what makes you SO VAIN, so presumptuous, taking it for granted that anyone watching your film would want to watch a tale that just *feels* even longer than “Gone With the” Goddamned “Wind?!?”

I mean … come on … really …

To give credit where it’s due, “Shade and Shadow” has some truly disturbing “Ring”-esque moments, some full frontal female nudity, some interesting acid-trippy camerawork, some decent dialogue, and some creepy music. It’ll also wind up in the underground classics section of various video stores, in a few years, that is, if Netflix hasn’t taken over the world by then.

“Shade and Shadow,” however, just does not meet my standards for acceptable filmmaking – passable filmmaking, yes, but not acceptable, because (insert sound of my foot stamping here) I just *know* it could have been better. IF someone had known how to edit and wrapped it all up at 75 minutes and if another disclaimer (other than the one already included that correctly stated: this demo version DVD features the uncut/unrated widescreen version without finishing touches to the picture, effects and sound and may vary from the final version) contained within mentioned that: if the viewer is not imbibing in some illegal substance, actual interest in the film may wane considerably. Also, purposeful mouth movements are out of sync with the dialogue, which works for a short time, and the film initially relies heavily on a bedtime story narrator, which is lost halfway through, regrettably.

Other than that, I could tell you that the story has something interesting to say overall, some underlying theme, but it doesn’t, at least not one that I can discern – the film’s real strength lies in individual moments, such as a terrifying porcelain masked hostess, a love-making shower sequence with nails that scream torture device, and a nightmare-inspiring sequence involving a cross between the midget from “Twin Peaks” and the Joker. Oh yeah? And did I mention there are boobies?

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  1. Trevor Charles says:

    As the lead actor in Shade and Shadow, I appreciated the review. I haven’t talked to Gabriel in over a decade. Anyone who has a response like this to a review is never going to have a career.

    • Gabriel Manwaring says:

      As the writer and director, I welcome anyone reading this to do a web search for my other film credits and his.

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