‘Inside Shadows’ is the debut creeper of London based director Chris Silver. Pitched as a ‘traditional’ ghost story, the film promises to return the haunted house back to its sinister roots, low on gore but delivering atmosphere – oh, and without being a ‘found footage’ movie either. Oddly billed as one of the cheapest commercial movies ever, Silver ironically manages to carve himself a nice niche which blends all the jump scares and lingering camera shots of said found footage films, but avoiding the need for the shitty back story as to why there are static cameras all over the place, meaning that a new story can unfold, one which feels natural and most importantly, one you can relate to!
The plot revolves around a young couple moving into a new apartment. Whilst the story doesn’t linger too much on their past, we are taken to a time in their relationship where this move feels like a new beginning, as in typical fashion, they begin to plan to turn their rental into their own home. At first all is well, however, as time passes the couple begin to experience some ‘disturbances’, subtle at first, but escalating as the history of the house is exposed...
To some extent the similarity of the plot with more famous found footage entries are difficult to ignore, and certainly the modern flat setting seemed an odd choice within which to set a movie, which to survive in any commercial capacity, would have to distance itself from the myriad of other movies which are also very similar in synopsis. That said, for me ‘Inside Shadows’ success doesn’t come from reinventing the genre, it’s just done better than most. The script is either very well written, or not written at all - and that’s the point, it’s very very natural. The banter is witty when it needs to be, but without being forced, and the couple’s general interactions are consistent from scene to scene. The characters a likeable, which is a major plus in movies such as this, as you can quite quickly ease into their story, and ultimately their plight. The female lead appears quite vulnerable and the addition of a foreign character was a great choice, as her dialect added a further air of naivety around her character. When the shit goes down in their house you can honestly believe the impact of it would be more psychologically severe on her, than on the guy, who for the most part is your average bloke - right down to the amusing rhymes he writes for his girl, all of which are almost exclusively about sex!
A clever mixture of creepy sequences, particularly in the early haunting phases, coupled with some fairly intense story telling with the world’s most troubled landlord, generates a tense atmosphere. Whilst the flat itself isn’t really that out of the ordinary, the addition of the third person camera perspective makes it feel cramped and claustrophobic. When the scares come they do so with good effect - albeit some are much more effective than others. Choppy editing in the effective cases give you glimpses of things, which when coupled with some really jolting sound effects, send those much sought after shivers up the spine. Once the longer drawn out creepy sequences are supplemented with a stringed instrument dirge which only further unsettles. The final sequences bring the stories interesting developments to a satisfyingly nail-biting conclusion.
Naturally, as it’s a debut feature, and as I said already, it was made on a very limited budget, the movie is not without some wayward scenes. There are some odd scenes here or there which take us out of that claustrophobic setting long enough to allow us to return to a state of ease, and on occasion that choppy editing which worked to great effect in some scenes does get a little hung up on itself, snapping from scene to scene so fast in some cases it became more disorientating than disturbing. These little issues aren’t too jarring to the overall enjoyment of the movie, however they do stand out in contrast to the many other scenes where Silver and team get it right.
Overall, it is no secret that I enjoy a decent creepy house story from time to time, and I would have been gravely disappointed if ‘Inside Shadows’ hadn’t delivered! As I’ve mentioned, it isn’t without its flaws, but they are so minor, and as a result ‘Inside Shadows’ is still a fantastic alternative to the found footage onslaught, whilst ironically appealing to the same audience! The micro-budget movie punches well above its weight delivering a nicely told tale with some decent scares along the way.
Luckily for you viewing ‘Inside Shadows’ is only one click away, you can buy or rent it from here https://vimeo.com/ondemand/insideshadows/74678044