Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


SHALLOW GROUND (2004). Written and directed by Sheldon Wilson.

A boy covered in blood comes into an isolated police station setting in motion a series of macabre events that seem to center on the disappearance in the woods of a woman who was the girlfriend of one of the cops, Jack (Timothy V. Murphy). It isn't long before it's made clear that this isn't a murder mystery, but something freaky is really happening. Although Shallow Ground is well-produced and photographed -- and the actors are all professional -- it suffers from the lack of a strong narrative drive. The movie is weird and disquieting at times (the music helps) but it's never really scary or involving (in fact it seems rather silly at times), maybe because the film seems to distance us too much from its characters. It's one thing to be mysterious; another to be obtuse. Plenty of gruesome moments for the gore buff. Patty McCormack, who starred in The Bad Seed as sociopathic Rhoda as a child actress and who played another nut years later in Mommy, plays Helen Reedy, who may or may not have a few secrets to share. McCormack has actually been a very busy actress her entire life.

Verdict: An interesting failure. **.

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