Director/writer, Sheldon Wilson, cannot blame this film’s serious failings on low budget concerns, inept acting, camera work, special effects, or even how these assets are put together. No, it is purely the fault of deplorable script writing. Everyone else does their job nicely…even more than adequately throughout. The very beginning grips the viewer with a young teenage boy intently heading through the woods, all his clothing replaced by a covering of blood. In his hand is an ominous hunting knife. Rocky Marquette plays this role so well, it is a commendation to both him and casting. Almost all other performances are met and served by professional acting; everything is indeed present that is required in order to make a good horror movie. That is, as this reviewer said, except the script.
One would hope when appalling events take place on the scale they do in, Shallow Ground, elements of Karmic justice are somehow present. Indeed they are, but defeated at every turn by obvious attempts to subscribe to some kind of exploitation of other horror films. Even the forensics resorted to by the law persons involved in the subsequent investigation of murders piling up is grasping for authenticity it does not earn but “borrows” from other work. No one can compile a composite of facial features into any astute context simply by tearing out bits and pieces of pictures of victims’ faces and randomly placing them together. But here we have someone do this in less time than a bank of computers might. And no one can isolate DNA signature from a mix of blood without extensive lab resource (which isn’t to be had.)
The killer decorates a home with the corpses of the victims, another worn-out addendum, one that just doesn’t fit this circumstance since the killings are obliging revenge motives and not “joyful” serial killing motif. Hysteria does breed hysteria and people running around like chickens with their heads just wrung off, isn’t too far fetched, excepting when the script writer is doing it.
But the very worst element unserved is the very ending. Karmic justice betrayed and hence all the unending storyline propped up on it, defeated. Just for a sordid pitch for a sequel…one would guess.
So viewers are forewarned. See this film for its scene delivery and acting performances and moments of horror and the game one might make of it by putting your own spin on rearranging them. You will probably do better than Mr. Wilson.
Young children are to be spared (mercifully) this experience.