AMONG THE SHADOWS (2019)

Among the Shadows.jpg

Studio:      Momentum Pictures
Director:    Tiago Mesquita
Writer:      Mark Morgan
Producer:  Ross Otterman
Stars:     Charlotte Beckett, Gianni Capaldi, Dominik Madani, Reynald Biales, Barry Jay Minoff, Kristoffel Verdonck, Lindsay Lohan

Review Score:

20.jpg

Summary:

To solve her uncle¡¯s murder, a private detective descended from werewolves must unravel a conspiracy connected to a presidential election.


Synopsis:     

Review:

Am I telling you something you can¡¯t figure out for yourself by saying a D-grade werewolf thriller, whose only hook involves slipping Lindsay Lohan in amongst a cast of unknowns, is an objectively awful movie? Once an immensely promising actress who strutted red carpets at world premieres, Lohan rents her now hollow Stepford Wives screen presence to projects that debut in cardboard bins at grocery stores. At least, that¡¯s where ¡°Among the Shadows¡± would have gone to die had it not elected to drown in DTV swamp waters first.

¡°Among the Shadows¡± marks a creative nadir for everyone involved. For Lohan specifically, the fallen celebrity finds herself prematurely entering the Bela Lugosi circa ¡°Bride of the Monster¡± stage of her crashing career. Slapdash scenes seem built around previously shot footage while a laughable lookalike fills in whenever Lohan is unavailable. If those aren¡¯t echoes of an Ed Wood-Bela Lugosi collaboration, I don¡¯t know what is. The only difference is that ¡°Among the Shadows¡± is such a malodorous mess of cinematic ineptitude, Ed Wood would roll over in his grave if he had to watch one minute of it.

Maybe one of the 16 executive producers, six co-producers, five associate producers, or handful of others with some variation of ¡°producer¡± in their credits can explain how ¡°Among the Shadows¡± became so incomprehensible, even though only one writer takes the blame for the screenplay.

Accompanied by quick clips and sound bites making no sense since they¡¯re pulled out of context from future points in the film, the confusion train starts rolling ahead of schedule with a pointless prologue. Text cards string together some timeline about Brexit, Frexit, the European Union¡¯s fall, the European Federation¡¯s rise, and other irrelevant blah blah blah. It¡¯s a long way of erecting a see-through curtain of imaginary political intrigue when ¡°Among the Shadows¡± is just a straight P.I. procedural. The actual story concerns Lohan¡¯s Patricia, the Federation¡¯s First Lady who happens to be a vampire for some reason, hiring hard-drinking and tough-talking Kristy, who happens to be a werewolf for some reason, to find out who murdered Kristy¡¯s uncle, another werewolf who also worked for Patricia¡¯s president husband.

This talk of warring werewolves and vampires, which has almost no bearing on the movie whatsoever, mixed up in assassination conspiracies sounds more appealing than the muddled mystery actually turns out to be. However, ¡°Among the Shadows¡± is every bit as convoluted as it probably sounds at the same time.

Countless characters with unclear identities come and go at ADHD intervals whenever the film randomly jumps to one of a dozen sub-threads that never see a resolution. As if it isn¡¯t hard enough keeping everyone straight as the plot grows choppier, an international cast makes for a potpourri of British, Scottish, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian, and Polish accents. Pile poor audio on top and you end up with dialogue that¡¯s nearly impossible to understand even though it¡¯s spoken in English. Protip: if an actor wears a balaclava, the correct way to record his lines is cleanly before putting them though a filter in post; don¡¯t point a microphone at his muffled mouth from umpteen feet away.

Bizarre moves are made everywhere on technical fronts. ¡°Among the Shadows¡± looks like one of those cheapo syndicated sci-fi or action shows from the 1990s. Sets come clouded with the fog of smoke machines, even indoors, and are garishly washed in unmotivated blue and violet colors. Five people are credited with additional photography. It looks like at least one of them shot his/her footage on a phone as imbalanced color timing mismatches some scenes from one shot to the next.

What about Lindsay Lohan? Disinterest seethes during every appearance. For her TV interview segments, you can visibly see Lohan¡¯s eyes darting right and left like a typewriter carriage as she reads from cue cards. In other sequences, Lohan is conspicuously backlit against a green screen and cut to frame out the fact that she isn¡¯t even in the same room as the person she is conversing with.

Apparently Lohan¡¯s availability was so limited, ¡°Among the Shadows¡± resorts to some woman in a horrible wig for her character¡¯s stunts and long shots. There¡¯s even a weird bit about vampires and werewolves communicating telepathically, which seems shoehorned to accommodate for voiceovers to patch plot holes. Hilariously however, the person filling in for Lohan sounds nothing like her.

Haphazard editing, sudden sex scenes, and other nonsensical non-sequiturs contribute additional carelessness to this cacophony of virtually unwatchable chaos. If Lindsay Lohan weren¡¯t sleepwalking through it, you¡¯d have never heard of ¡°Among the Shadows,¡± and would be blissfully better off for it.

Review Score: 20