Directed by: Mark Schwab
Written by: Mark Schwab
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Shadows In Mind
Manning a suicide hotline is a tough job for most any operator, even one geared for the LGBT community. Although slower than a centralized suicide hotline, the need is still present, and the thoughts of maybe saving one life is more than enough to keep a person going. Even if the job consists mainly of dud calls. Calls from the lonely people of the world, simply wanting to randomly talk, or even calls from guys thinking the service is some kind of sex line. Yet it's all worth it if you can avert one single disaster. Save one single life. This is what motivates Simon (Corey Jackson) every shift. That chance to help that seems further and further away every day, with each non important call. That is until Danny (Christian Gabriel) calls in, inserting himself into Simon's life by threatening to kill three people, and then kill himself. Shadows In Mind is essentially the testimony of a would-be murderer. The road he followed to this breaking point. There is a twist at the end but we'll leave that unspoken here. One thing is certain though, Shadows In Mind is a slow burning thriller.
Project writer and director Mark Schwab has put together an interesting story. A careful journey from start to finish. Focusing on the LGBT community was an interesting and understandable decision. From this standpoint, not only does Shadows In Mind help fill a sorely lacking spot in the film industry, it also opens up story elements that otherwise couldn't have been explored. Yet this careful journey may be just a little overly careful. That slow burn may be just a little slower than intended. The truth? This title feels much longer that it actually is.
The main problem with this film is that things don't really get interesting until some time in the third act. And by interesting I mean horrible. This is where this title moves from thriller territory to horror. The degrading punch-line of this movie in all honesty, would be a nightmare for anyone. The fact this was all orchestrated by Danny's boyfriend Kyle (Pano Tsaklas) makes it all the more deranged. Even with the slight twist at the end, Kyle's attempt at some small form of redemption was not enough in my books. I can only write that this entire scenario is as scary as it is revolting. Making matters worse is that the premise of this title isn't as far fetched as many others. Shadows In Mind plays on the world we live in today. What a scary thought.
I mentioned above that this was a very long feeling title, and I really think it's a post production issue. Having a length of around an hour and a half doesn't seem like a big deal. Especially when you stop and consider the pieces themselves. The cast were all well directed, putting their best feet forward and really adding a sense of reality to this fictitious story. The camera work, including lighting and framing, all felt right. From a visual perspective, everything looks great for a micro budgeted film. So I can only assume that "dragging" feeling happened in post production, and what makes things equally annoying is that I don't have any suggestions for picking up the pace. Aside from cutting down the actual length. Why? Because it all looks good and because of the very nature of the story. Cutting scenes may not be the best answer. I can only write what I feel, and really don't know the best course of action. For people who enjoy a slower paced film, Shadows In Mind may come across as just right. Yet even if you agree this title is a little slow, the lead up to the ending will be appreciated. The ending itself? Makes it all worth it in a horrific way. Shadows In Mind pulls no punches and can be quite graphic at times. It's real scare though, is not so much with the content, rather the fact this "could" be a true story. The dark side of this brave modern world we all live in. Shadows In Mind is more than enough to get the job done. More than enough to make those little hairs on the back of your neck rise a little. Especially with that final conversation in the movie. Haunting.