Dir. Adrian Konstant (2022)
A group of strangers are holed up in a house during a zombie apocalypse. As the food supply runs low, tensions begin to rise, and they must struggle with each other as much as the monsters.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Screambox has a pretty damn good track record from the original and exclusive movies that I've had the chance to cover so far. Rather than focusing mostly on classic movies, they've taken the concept of bringing movies to their platform that you can't find anywhere else, and they've even joined together with Bloody Disgusting to release movies under their own banner to the enjoyment and appreciation of horror fans everywhere. While I've been a huge fan of what they've brought to the table, this most recent offering, Shifted, fell short of their usual quality of film, ending up as a disappointment by failing to live up to its potential.
Shifted is not a movie you haven't seen before: during a zombie apocalypse, a band of survivors must forage for food and supplies while avoiding the zombie menace, but they quickly learn that man is the real monster. While this is undoubtedly true, sometimes it gets old as a plot device and needs a bit more to carry the film into uncharted territory. There's nothing inherently wrong with making a movie that doesn't break new ground, but Shifted was clearly trying to do just that, shoehorning in a plot about a serial killer inside the house who was picking off the survivors one by one. The zombies, rather, were more of a subplot, an ever-present threat while having relatively little screen-time and only serving as the backdrop for a movie that was more of a murder mystery than a zombie film. Again, that's not an inherently bad thing, and it's something that could have turned out to be phenomenal. In this case, there was just a bit too much going on.
The film is indie through and through, with a tiny budget and that "indie-style" cinematography that is the "know it when you see it" hallmark of low-budget filmmaking. The acting was alright, but nothing to write home about. The characters were fairly original, they didn't feel jammed into the preconceived archetypes that most films are insistent on using for their characters. And the direction was fine as well, nothing too great but certainly at least capable of producing a watchable movie. The effects and makeup teams are the ones that really succeeded in this film, and the unique way in which the zombie-ness spreads is actually pretty cool for a film of this caliber. Unfortunately, that was about the only part of the film that was really a hit, as the rest of the film was ho-hum all the way through to the anticlimactic ending.
I'm a huge fan of Screambox, and I'll preach their gospel to the high heavens and to anyone who will listen to me. They've got a phenomenal lineup of films and they're adding to them all the time, so please don't take this relatively negative review as an indictment on their filmography. If you're one of those who loves zombie movies and is always on the lookout for one they haven't seen before, you should absolutely check out Shifted. There's enough different ideas around the zombies themselves that make the movie an interesting watch, I just wish they had focused more on that part of the film rather than the social drama that carried the bulk of the runtime.
Who this movie is for: Indie horror fans, Indie zombie lovers, Entomologists
Bottom line: Shifted isn't a bad movie, but it falls far short of its potential by creating more of a standard, slow-moving social study than a zombie bloodfest. While this was certainly the intention of the filmmakers, it makes the movie perhaps a little less watchable than it would otherwise be. If you're a zombie movie fan, though, it's well worth a watch, because it contains one of the more unique additions to the zombie "lore" that I haven't come across in quite the same way before. Screambox and Bloody Disgusting are not horror names that should be new to you, and if you're not already subscribed to Screambox, you absolutely should be.