If I had seen this movie ‘Shapeshifter’ when The Asylum unleashed it back 2005 I would’ve been howling at the moon at how shitty this movie was. However that was before I dedicated myself to apparently watching just about anything done by anybody. Now years of watching movies of suspect origins have eroded my movie watching sensibilities, probably irreparably, and thus while I watched this movie ‘Shapeshifter’ some four years after its initial release I could see some of the good in it. Oh, it is terrible in every sense of the word terrible but it was not without its… charms. I hold The Asylum themselves responsible for a large part of this erosion of senses as one can only watch so many ‘Transmorphers’, ‘Supercrocs’ and ‘Alien Vs. Hunters’ before those effects start to take their toll, a toll that leads us to watch a movie such as ‘Shapeshifter’, conclude that it was terrible but close out with the statement ‘hey, it WAS better than Supercroc’.
The very pretty Jennifer Lee Wiggins plays the character of prison security guard Ginny Lydon. I think I’ve seen every movie that Ms. Wiggins has been in which probably isn’t all that great for her career. Anyway this is Ginny’s first night on the job at this ‘progressive’ prison in which prisoners pretty much have free run of the joint. Soon the prison gets a new transient in some silent, weird looking Romanian dude with an ugly tattoo on his chest (Vas Andreas). We know already that this Romanian dude is really an evil monster since we saw him eat a prolific Asylum film director and some poor girl they convinced to show us her tits early on the movie, so we know its just a matter of time before this cat turns into a monster in this facility and starts eating these prisoners.
And what a lively bunch of prisoners it is. There’s the uber obnoxious Tyrese played some single named cat calling himself Ocean. Now Ocean does take the role of Obnoxious Black Dude to the next level in this movie but he does bear a shocking
resemblance to one of my best friends from high school, still a friend today, so we didn’t mind his obnoxiousness so much. There’s the Fruit of Islam brother (A.J. Hammond), the large Green Mile type brother, the fair skinned heroic looking brother who is also our starlets homeboy from back at the foster home, we have the defrocked preist, a couple of other dudes and most importantly another Romanian dude. Hmmm… two Romanian dudes in a sparsely populated prison at the same time? Peculiar indeed.
So our silent dude freaks out, turns into a hairy Sasquatch with floppy horns and gets to the business of killing. Now I’m laughing as I type this because it seems that our monster is actually a hitman for the Romanian Mafia assigned with the task of killing that other Romanian dude. I don’t know how strong the numbers of the Romanian Mob are but considering they use unstable, insatiable, indestructible flesh eating monsters they can’t control as hitmen, there can’t be too many of them floating around out there.
One by one our prisoners get picked off… but wait, there’s more! We have a ‘twist’ of sorts going on my friends. But don’t worry about that junk because we just need to know if our pretty Final Girl and perhaps some randomly selected Black Dude are going to be able to put down the scourge of the Shapeshifter and live until morning.
I do like me a monster movie and I make very little secret of that and this movie IS a monster movie. This is a good thing. However artistically speaking it is a pretty bad monster movie. As our little movie starts out with its amazingly cheap look and feel to it, the first twenty or so minutes might prompt one to eject the disk. It’s kind of slow, the actors are a little suspect, the special effects are pulled off the low budget lame part of the shelf but I stuck with it. It’s not like I have anything better to do. By the time the monster ‘transformation’ took place I gotta say the movie did get better or I just adapted to it. Part of it was the humor of it all, say like the security guard watching this ‘transformation’ in horror but making absolutely no effort in getting out of the rather tight prison cell with this monster. Our monster killed and ate this guy and then chased the rest of the cast, but when he couldn’t catch them he just went back and continued to eat Eddie (Louis Mendoza). He snacked on poor Eddie throughout the entire movie. The biggest failing of the movie is when it tried to tell a story explain stuff because that was just utter nonsense. If our creators could’ve just kept it simple with a mean monster possessing what appears to be teleportation powers, eating minorities in a prison, with no silly Romanian Mafia subplot I think the movie would’ve been better served for it.
The monster looked pretty good and the movie had some decent gore effects, opening up with Leigh Scott getting ripped to shreds which I’m sure delighted many who saw ‘Transmorphers’ and also the Green Mile Brother who went mano a monstero with the creature which was a pretty one sided affair, but also made for some cool destruction of the skull of a slow moving dude lacking intelligence.
The acting was about par for a low bud prod such as this, Jennifer Lee Wiggins was effectively cute, Ocean was extremely obnoxious and irritating, Green Mile brother was slow, Romanian dude only lost his ‘Romanian’ accent a couple of times, and I think F.O.I brother can actually act.
To be real with you people out there, if you are used to watching super tight Hollywood type productions where filmmakers generally don’t have to make up stuff and solve production problems as they go along, then you will not like this movie. But if you’ve seen something like ‘Alien vs. Hunter’ and watched it all the way until the end then you are hardcore and you will have NO PROBLEM watching this movie an possibly even get a little enjoyment out of it. I did.