Shadowzone (1990)


I tried very hard to stay awake and somewhat alert through “Shadowzone” but mid-way I had a difficult time even keeping my attention on the convoluted plot. With the tagline “Beyond Alien! Beyond The Thing!” Cardone’s science fiction horror hybrid is so beyond boring. Director J.S. Cardone definitely steals from the former films wholesale, but none of it ever amounts to a remotely entertaining horror science fiction film. I’d sooner watch 2011’s “The Thing” before I watched “Shadowzone” one more time.

A NASA investigator is brought to an underground facility where a team have discovered that extended periods of sleep have opened up a portal to another dimension. Said dimension has introduced a monster of the shape shifting variety. And the monster can not only approach its victims with stealth, but can also take on monstrous forms of their worst fears. There’s a crabby chef who is battling with a rat infestation, of course we can assume what happens to her. And the local technician hates a co-workers small monkey, so we can assume how that progresses. There’s plenty of imagery to help viewers remember “Alien” and “The Thing,” but none of it as ever amounts to entertainment.

There are astronauts in glass tubes, sleeping for extended periods, there’s a moment where the characters are tracking the alien menace with sonar, there are the surprise shocks with the monster popping up, and there is of course the tunnels with the red tints. “Shadowzone” on its own, is a tedious droning pesudo science fiction film with terrible performances, and zero tension. There is an extended moment in the finale where two characters are venturing in to the tunnels being shocked by every noise, while one of the main characters literally goes on a shooting rampage after water drops on his hand.

“Shadowzone” is a mostly convoluted and hard to follow premise with a concept that could be unique if it weren’t trying so hard to mimic Ridley Scott. I guess you can also appreciate the odd cast that include Louise Fletcher, James Hong, and Miguel Nunez Jr. There’s plenty of cannon fodder and the monster is about as humdrum and boring a design as you can imagine as J.S. Cardone doesn’t seem to know what kind of movie he wants to make. Sometimes the movie is darkly comical, sometimes it strives for horror, and then it seems inadvertently comical. I wasn’t sure what they were aiming for, I was just very glad “Shadowzone” ended.