Shadow Hours

Does anyone notice the endless supply of movies at video stores that no one has ever heard of? Most of them tend to be soft-core porno or really bad attempts at science fiction or horror. Every once in a while, there is a gem amongst them. But how do studios decide what to release and what to send directly to the store? Usually, the latter happens. In the case of Shadow Hours, it seems someone made the wrong decision and released the movie into theaters instead of directly to the store, where it belongs. All the characteristics are there. Most of the cast consists of actors who usually show up as secondary players in other movies or television shows (especially science fiction, in this case Robocop, Star Trek, and The X-Files). There is a lot of nudity/sexuality, in this case, of the sadomasochistic kind. And lastly, the movie is lame.

Shadow Hours most closely resembles Fight Club and The Game. Michael Holloway (Balthazar Getty, Lost Highway, White Squall) works the graveyard shift at a gas station. He is a recovering addict and his wife Chloe (Rebecca Gayheart, Urban Legend, Jawbreaker) is pregnant with their first child. Michael feels inadequate because he does not earn enough money to care for his wife, and is stuck in a dead-end job. Then he meets Stuart Chappell (Peter Weller, Mighty Aphrodite, Naked Lunch). Chappell claims to be an author doing research on a book. He hires Michael to tag-along as a second perspective. Together, they go to strip clubs (male and female), punk concerts, goth clubs, fight clubs, and other places that do little else but evoke grotesque imagery. Like Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden character, Chappell believes that in order to find out who someone truly is, the person must go through large extremes. In Fight Club, people must give up everything (including individuality). In Shadow Hours, they must go to Hell and come back, and Michael's guide into Hell is Chappell. There is also a dull sub-plot about a series of murders occurring next to the gas station.

Writer/director Isaac Eaton used actual clubs and performance artists from Los Angeles in casting the bands and S&M scenes, and adds a heavy, techo-industrial influenced soundtrack. Eaton wanted to present the seamy underbelly of every large city, one that is right under the noses of its ordinary inhabitants. It's all for nothing. Michael seems to be doing fine until Stuart comes along. Stuart is the tempter, leading him back into the world of drinking and drugs, and just messing with his mind. Oddly enough, Getty's character is nonchalant at all the places he visits. Trips to male strip clubs and extreme body modification parlors do not faze him in the least. Michael also professes a great love for Chloe, but fails to confide in her about anything, preferring to hide it all. Even with all the strange things going on in front of Stuart's eyes, Shadow Hours ends up nothing more than an exercise in trying to shock the viewer, with paltry results.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated R for strong violence, sexuality, masochistic images, drug use, and language.

Back to Movies