Shadow: Dead Riot (2005)

DVD Cover (Shriek Show Unrated Collector's Edition)
Genres: Horror, Prison Film, Women In Prison, Zombie Film
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Derek Wan Derek Wan
Tony Todd Tony Todd
Carla Greene Carla Greene
Nina Hodoruk Nina Hodoruk
Michael Quinlan Michael Quinlan
Cat Miller Cat Miller
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> Zombie Classics

4.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: May 12, 2006
Tony Todd is the serial-killing antagonist known as Shadow in this multi-genre film, as we quickly find out that he is involved in some sort of black magic and murders women to consume their blood in an attempt to obtain immortality. Well, he did do all of that, but as the movie begins, he's locked up in prison and is hours away from having his death sentence carried out. As the executioner is administrating the lethal injection that will permanently put the former Candyman to sleep, we find out just how powerful his black magic truly is. I won't say much else on this, except that things happen and the other prisoners eventually escape their cells. A riot ensues, which causes the officers to break out the shotguns and put them all down. A mass grave is dug outside the prison, the corpses are dumped in along with Shadow's remains, and we then cut to the start of the main storyline...

...which picks up twenty years later. We're back at the same prison that used to house Shadow, but now, it's an experimental women's prison that focuses more on rehabilitation than punishment. This time around, we focus on a young lady known as Solitaire (Carla Greene) who has just been locked up for murder and, as we soon discover, she doesn't take too kindly to the other gang-member women trying to make a move on her. This gang, led by the extremely muscular Mondo (Tatianna Butler), attempts to put some fear into our heroine, but they are no match for this lady that has apparently watched The Matrix a few times too many. It's your typical women-in-prison film, up until Solitaire starts having eerie visions of the man that we at home recognize as Shadow...

This movie has a lot of genres going for it, and depending on the viewer, that fact may or may not work out to the benefit of the feature. There's the obvious horror once things get rolling, but it also turns into a zombie film when Shadow's minions arise with him. There's plenty of women-in-prison T&A exploitation (in which Erin Brown - the former Misty Mundae - even makes an appearance), there's a good deal of kung fu fighting, and hell, there's even a small amount of drama thrown in for kicks. The movie seems a bit confused at times, wondering how it should continue and which genre the next scene should be, but overall, I didn't have a problem with how the story was presented. Things were definitely kept interesting for the most part, and while some scenes worked better than others, it was an enjoyable ninety minutes.

The best part of the film is the part that most people will pay to see: the horror, and most notably, the zombies. While I wouldn't say that this is a scary film, it definitely delivers on the zombie action and there's plenty of gore to keep those fans satisfied. The effects used here are excellent, especially as we witness a trio of zombies chowing down on a downed lady towards the end of the film. The only effects that didn't work out too nicely are the few occurrences that used CGI instead of physical objects. As tends to be the case with most CGI productions that don't have a trillion dollars thrown at them, they looked fake and rather cartoonish.

Tony Todd is great in his "lead" role as the villain. The man turned in a hell of a performance in his career-defining role of Candyman, and he's since gone on to make both small and large appearances in a number of low-budget horror films. These movies, the ones that I've seen anyway, have always benefited from his presence; some of them were made that much better by him being involved, and some were absolute shit with the exception of his part. Todd is a natural villain on screen, and while he's done some good things playing the hero in certain films, he's at his best when he's terrorizing the heroes - this movie is no exception to that statement.

Although her name appears second on the proverbial marquee, Carla Greene is the real star of the film in terms of the storyline. Todd makes a small appearance to start the movie off and then appears for the last thirty minutes or so, but Greene is the one that carries the movie for the vast majority of the running time. I'd never heard of her before as she's only been in one other low-budget film, but she actually did a damned good job in both the acting department and the physical stunts side of things. It's not too often that someone can handle both of those with ease, but this young lady did quite the good job with it.

This one is definitely worth a check-out for horror and zombie fans. While it's not a straight-out horror film and the zombies certainly aren't the main focus of the storyline, I believe that both camps will enjoy the events that unfold on their television screens when they pop this DVD in. 8/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 08/08/2007, 03:49 PM
Hooooly God. This was horrendous. It wasn't a good Women In Prison, Zombie or Horror movie. It was just awful from beginning to end. Tony Todd, what happened to you?
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