Shallow Ground

SHALLOW GROUND. 2004

Director: Sheldon Wilson

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Shallow Ground scores high on imagination, both for a story that is not the same-old same-old seen in lots of B horror, & for putting to such creative use the scant $72,000 the film cost to make. Most everyone involved either waived payment or took huge cuts in pay just to be part of the project, usually on the basis of having seen the script. It packs in some honestly creepy stuff, with an elegance that makes it work like a better-budgeted movie.

Its a gory film about a serial killer or killers, & a reasonably good mystery that does not reveal who the primary killer is until near the final act. But the heart of the film is supernatural.

A teenage boy drenched in blood appears from out of the forest in Shallow Valley & into a the sherrif's office. He seems to be an elemental built from the blood of numerous murder victims. To touch his blood is to become infused with graphic memories of the unsolved killings, so the silent weird lad's first mission is to reveal the truth. His second mission is to exact revenge.

One fault of the film is in revealing subsidiary killers before the main killer is found out. It was a little hard to believe this tiny community in the middle of nowhere could've generated multiple undiscovered killers or lots of victims in a single year the majority never noticed. It also has one of those suprise codas in which one more gory thing happens after the film is basically over. It's a big gore-gag but it makes absolutely no sense, so it was a bit annoying to have it tacked on to a film that had already provided an effective climax.

But even with its small faults, this is a visually creative mystery of crime & the beyond. In a year when many low budget independent horror films had nothing to recommend them, it was such a relief to encounter something that shows there do still exist small independent filmmakers who care about doing horror well.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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