Despite having a plot involving a deal with a demon and bringing the dead back to life, Shadows Fall isn’t really a horror film, at least not in the traditional sense. More of a drama or tragedy, in earlier times it would have been called a morality tale or a cautionary story. Now it fits into the hybrid genre of films such as Spring or Dark Was the Night, films that use the genre to tell more conventional types of stories.
Senka (Dylan Quigg) is a young woman recently left a widow with the death of her husband Jonas (Jener Dasilva). Willing to do anything to have him back she makes a deal with the Devil, or at least a demon, Amis (Christian Wennberg) to bring him back. But of course these things do not go well and in trying to restore her happiness she may well have created hell for herself and others.
How you will react to the film may well depend on what you expect going in. If you’re expecting a traditional scare film you’ll probably be disappointed. If on the other hand you know you’re getting a drama with supernatural elements then you should enjoy it. The script is serious and well written but manages to avoid being dull for the most part. It a strong look at love, sorrow, desperation and regret played out against an occult backdrop, much the way The Love Witch uses witchcraft to look at love, desperation and loneliness without becoming a true horror film. The makers compare it to Bram Stoker’s Dracula but with it’s theme of loss perhaps The Monkey’s Paw might be a better comparison.
The small cast does a good job and Quigg and Dasilva have a great chemistry between them and are extremely convincing as the couple who just wish for everything to be as it was, even though it can’t. Both have complex roles to play and pull it off well. Wennberg is good as the demon who has a few issues of his own.
How this film is marketed will be critical to it’s success, if it ends up being pushed as a straight horror film it’s bound to be met with disappointment and bad word of mouth. In the hands of a distributor who can sell it right it should do well and it deserves to do well. Shadows Fall is a solid, intelligent film with just enough occult darkness highlighting the human drama to set it apart from the pack.