Entertaining thriller, effective thought provoker, and reminder...
In this movie nothing is as it seems, and I mean nothing! Especially to a veteran of the Iraq War who's dream trip of mountain biking in Europe is interrupted by horrors beyond imagining, horrors that at first seem worse than the horrors of war itself, but are they?
Through voice over in the beginning we learn that war veteran David (Jake Muxworthy) has written a letter home to his mother. Weary of the battle, he longs for freedom and looks forward to his passion for mountain biking. He tells his mother that a friend has let him know of a place in Europe where the biking and beauty is second to nowhere.
Scenery is superb throughout the introduction and captured with fine cinematography, but beauty and peace are marred by more sinister overtones when David stops in for a break from his ride at a mountain hideaway, The Shadow.
There are a few different possibilities presented for the origin of the film title, but in my opinion it is the shadow of war that is cast over this story.
The Shadow does a great job of misleading, and sets the viewer up for some effective thrills, suspense and twists.
While the first segment does move a little slow the plot will seem familiar to many viewers as two degenerate hunter pursue our hero and a girl through the wilderness. We start to get the idea that there is something else hunting them all. Soon the tough guys, the war vet and his girl are thrown into a nightmare that has nothing to do with the preceding half of the film
A gaunt, disturbing looking individual with sadistic intent (played by Nuot Arquint) takes over the second act, and the film shifts to dark, gritty style, reminiscent of the classic Nosferatu, though indeed more horrifically modern.
The remainder of the film is quite different, and much more horrific, but all things come full circle and the end is not what you will expect. In his attempt to save the day our hero succumbs to his nightmare, and we learn that his dream trip will be interrupted by a jolting reminder of the savagery of war.