Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It’s time for a little Direct To Video ‘Resident Evil Style’ survival style horror featuring Jolene Blalock running around in her drawers and Tony Todd doing what he does.  I watched ‘Shadow Puppets’ in a different kind of way people.  So when I got the DVD I ripped it and downloaded it my new Coby 7inch PMP because I had to catch a plane to the ATL and wanted to see how watching a movie on a portable player actually worked.  I didn’t watch any movies on the way there because I had a book to read – yes, an actual book.  But on the way back home, with a business class upgrade and unlimited drinks, me and my PMP settled down for some horror movie watching.  I’m not quite sure that watching a movie on an airplane on your Portable Media Player all liquored up is the best way to go, so I watched ‘Shadow Puppets’ again, at home on the big LCD for a better, more accurate movie watching experience and as far as DTV fare goes, ‘Shadow Puppets’ wasn’t half bad.

Hot chick in underwear (Blalock) wakes up in a brightly lit locked padded room not knowing where she is or who she is for that matter.  Wherever the hell she is, the joint is making a whole lot of weird noises and freaking her out.  Her cell door opens and she wanders freely in what looks to be a mental institution, scared shitless.  She soon meets Hero looking dude (James Marsters), also in his underwear also not knowing who the hell he is.  They wander together and soon they meet Geeky Dude (Marc Winnick) and Hostile Sista (Diahnna Nicole Baxter).  Similarly, they don’t know who they are either and are freaked out by the weird sounds as well, so the four decide they need go find a way to get out of wherever they hell they are.  Hostile Sista and Geeky Dude eventually run into a naked Looney Chick (Natasha Alam) who merrily tells the pair that everyone’s going to die.  Hero dude and Hot chick unfortunately run into Crazed Black Dude (Richard Whiten) who is freaked out beyond belief and tries to kill the pair.  They manage to convince Crazed Black Dude that they aren’t the enemy, which calms him down just long enough to get his ass impaled by the villain in our piece, a weird monster that emerges from the shadows and consumes people.

After barely escaping the monster, Hot Chick, Hero dude, Geeky Dude, Looney Chick and Hostile Sista meet up and through further exploration find Angry Black Man (Tony Todd), not to be confused with Crazed Black Dude, chained up in a cell in the basement of the facility.  They meet another chick down there too, but we’re not gonna talk about her.  So with Angry Black Man set free we now have six people with no memory who don’t know who they are and why they are locked in a mental institution, on the run from a weird puffy monster who emerges from the shadows and is afraid of light.  Eventually everything will be explained to us and it also looks as if one of team isn’t being completely honest with us.  The question that remains is how did this damn shadow monster come to be and how in the hell is our crew going to be able to stop it?  We can only watch and observe.

Directed by one Michael Winnick, who I’m going to assume is Geeky Dude Marc Winnick’s brother, for a couple of reasons aside from name similarity, ‘Shadow Puppets’ is an amusing, very entertaining B-style movie in every sense of the letter B.  The shadow monster is certainly one of the cheesiest movie monsters you’ll see in this new digital age we live in, there are huge chunks of this movie which doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, and characters do things that only characters in the middle of monster movies do.  The politically correct among us might also ask why do the men in this flick get wear loose fitting tanks and boxers for underwear while the women sport tanks that are two sizes too small and are forced to wear crack riding panties. I, however, wouldn’t be among those politically correct. 

Though I’m certain Winnick’s film was shot with a minimal budget, considering the solitary location and lack A-list level talent, he certainly made the most of what he had.  Tony Todd may not be considered an A-list actor, but the Candy Man is an A-list talent in my book, and Jolene Blalock probably wears underwear better than any other actress working in movies today.  Winnick’s framing of his scenes and his cinematography, no doubt with the help of his cinematographer Jonathan Hale crafted a film that at least looked like a million dollars even if it didn’t cost a million dollars, and the atmosphere of the film had very eerie, spooky and ultimately effective feel to it.

If you don’t like B-movies, then don’t waste your time with ‘Shadow Puppets’ and drag your stuck up, better than all of us ass down to some art theater and enjoy a revival of the films of the recently late Francois Truffaut.  But if you’re idea of a good time isn’t watching some French dude looking out a window for two hours and instead prefer cheesy monsters turning people into bloody pulps while chicks in tight underwear flee in terror, then go ahead and stick ‘Shadow Puppets’ in the top of your cue.

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