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Blu-ray Review: Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder (1998)

A flock of Satanic priests summon a demon made of shadows and charge it with taking the soul of a young boy, Chris (Kevin Zegers) destined to be a saint. Without his soul that lil’ tyke will fling open the doors to hell with wild abandon and unleash all manner of destruction upon our big blue marble. Fret not though because pill-poppin’ Father Vassey (Mary Poppins…err, Michael Rooker), a cross between The Punisher and a preacher, is on the case and after puttin’ a murder on those cray-cray cultists does his damnedest to stop that preternatural blackness from taking his prize…but at least he has time on his side as our murderous monster begins working his way through the citizens of the town in which Chris lives leaving light adverse walking dead and folks(and the occasional dog or two) gone rabid, in his wake as he searches for his prey. Will Vassey, along with the town’s sheriff (Shawn Thompson) and his girlfriend (Leslie Hope) who just so happens to be the boy’s aunt, stop the Shadowbuilder in time to save the world from damnation?!!

Simply put, Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder is a damn fine fright flick! The concept of a roaming shadow inhabiting the bodies of it’s victims and turning them into zombie-like creatures that explode in bright light, or psychotic murder machines, is a novel one; and the addition of the hard ass, “seen some shit” preacher man on a quest of holy vengeance adds a great action flick vibe to the proceedings. Add to it a nice sense of tension as our hero tries to get to the boy before the monster does, as well as solid acting from Rooker, a great cameo from the legendary Tony Todd, delicious scenery chewing from Andrew Jackson as the beast in it’s more human state, and excellent practical make-up effects (as well as some dodgy, but still fun CG work), and you have yourself a great time in front of the beastly boob tube my creeps!

Along with the main feature, our fine fiends over at MVD Rewind have included some excellent beastly bonus content as well. First up is an audio commentary from the film’s director, Jamie Dixon that details the creation of the film. It’s anecdotal and full of technical info, but Dixon does pause here and there creating the dreaded “dead spots”. Following that we get a cool doc on the making of the film featuring interviews with Dixon, writer Michaels Stokes, Jackson, and Todd, a featurette detailing the film’s special effects, a featurette an actor Zegers, and a collection of trailers from the Rewind Collection (including Shadowbuilder‘s).

Shadowbuilder is a fright flick worth revisiting (or exploring for the first time); it’s unique, pulse-pounding, and the characters of trigger happy Vassey and the ebony cloaked villain are not to be missed!

 

 

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