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Crystal's Shadow

Crystal's Shadow (2019) Movie Poster
UK  •    •  87m  •    •  Directed by: Ilyas Kaduji.  •  Starring: Mark Arnold, Mhairi Calvey, William B. Davis, Sienna Guillory.  •  Music by: Ed Watkins.
    Stalked by a strange man in black and haunted by the memories of a manipulative mother, Crystal flees into the dark countryside seeking help. Little does she or her new friends realize her otherworldly nature or the danger that pursues her.


Image from: Crystal
Image from: Crystal
CRYSTAL'S SHADOW is an alien abduction flick a la FIRE IN THE SKY et al. Based upon a trailer and the lack of any reviews, amateur, professional or otherwise at the time of this writing, I was expecting the usual low-budget, low-quality, low-entertainment disappointing experience that is usually the rule with these sorts of movies.

As it turns out, I was only about half right. While I don't want to give the impression that it was a top-notch sci-fi thriller because it most certainly was not, it was a LOT better than I expected. I don't have to call it an unmitigated flop but rather more like a mitigated success.

Firstly, the acting was a lot better than expected. Most of the actors acquitted themselves reasonably with only 2 or 3 klinkers. Unfortunately the "lead", Mhairi Calvey, was as wooden as a fencepost. She has a fairly good list of credits but I couldn't tell that from her performance in this movie.

As a pleasant surprise, William B. Davis, who science-fiction buffs will recognize as the legendary "Cancer Man" or "Cigarette Smoking Man" from the X-FILES, is featured prominently in CRYSTAL'S SHADOW. And his appearances aren't just cameos, either; he appears prominently throughout the entire movie and it's fun to see him as a "good guy" instead of an ominous villain. His character even made a couple of oblique X-FILES references as a pander to the fans which was also fun.

Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the CG effects were, with some exceptions, pretty good and, although I would be hard-pressed to describe how, the effects came across as rather stylistically unusual. The embedded-in-the-neck alien tracking device was especially well done or at least I thought so. It wasn't breaking any new ground in concept or rendition, but for a low-end picture such as CRYSTAL'S SHADOW, it was better-than-expected workmanship.

Another "treat" for fans of UFO folklore was the inclusion of Art Bell as a voice-on-the-phone character. Probably the 2nd most important character in CRYSTAL'S SHADOW was a sort of poor-man's Art Bell-esque radio broadcaster and the inclusion of the real-life archetype was just another fun touch.

Throttling back my criticism in deference to the market segment from which this movie originates, my only significant disappointment with it is the fact that it was so heavily loaded with alien abductee de rigueur "ingredients" (men in black, lost time, implants, government coverups, oddparanormal behavior from government agents, and so on) that the movie didn't have time to actually smoothly blend them in or try to legitimize their presence in the movie beyond the tacit assumption that they are there because, you know, "that stuff always happens in alien abductions". It gave the feeling that everything from the alien abductee toybox had just been dumped on the floor on principle rather than having it contribute anything to the story or, heaven forbid, make sense.

So I hope I haven't given the impression that CRYSTAL'S SHADOW was high science-fiction, because it wasn't. It's a White Castle quality movie to be sure. But today they used fresh spices and had their best fry cook online and so the outcome was noticeably better than usual.

Review by S_Soma from the Internet Movie Database.