Shadow Builder (1998)

Directed by: Jamie Dixon

Written by:
Michael Stokes


Michael Rooker .... Father Vassey
Shawn Thompson .... Sheriff Sam Logan
Leslie Hope .... Jennie Hatcher
Kevin Zegers .... Chris Hatcher
Tony Todd .... Evert Covey
Andrew Jackson .... Shadowbuilder
James B. Douglas .... Doc Cole

Release Date: Direct-to-Video: February 7, 1998 (Japan)




In a sleepy town of Grand River a bunch of strange incidents happen there when it's dark as some evil forces starts to occur on people and killing them or possessing them to murder their loved one's which was created by an evil Archbishop of a church by summoning a demon to destroy the world in which the only way to stay safe is to stay in areas where there's light shining.


The beginning looks impressive in which there's a ceremony with candles when a group of preachers get together and all hell breaks loose when there's some sacrifices and some strong forces killing others which made me think to myself this looked like a ceremony gone wrong and then we have the head minister named Father Vassey cutting in and doing some killings himself in which I thought to myself if he was a demonic killer disguising himself as a priest.
There's a good shot on an evil Bishop doing his seance which looked well done with shots zooming around him making this look abnormal with all that he's doing.
A nice discussion between a preacher talking to Father Vassey as the setting looked dark and mysterious on what was going on plus there's a good close up shot on Vassey briefly kissing his necklace crucifix.
A good shot on someone walking through some woods with nervous reactions along with a great shot on his shocked expressions when a force attacks him and then a good cheesy shot on him being dragged away.
There seems to be a good scene with a child walking across the street and a great camera shot zooming in with a car speeding towards him.
The story seemed to go nowhere alot of the time here but then there's the next morning with a nephew Chris Hatcher getting up and going out to do stuff which seemed fun to watch wondering what activities he will be up to but him and his friends dare one another to go to this area that resides an eccentric hermit named Evert Convey and see why he keeps running alot of lights and electricity as this seemed quite corny. However there's good computerised effects with demonic forces running through dark sewage pipes and things like that.
A nice moment with the kids closing their eyes and doing some sort of a chant and then opening their eyes with a good camera shot looking up on Evert growling goofily towards them and the kids screaming running away with him laughing which this moment looked cheesy but at the same time with a good sense of humor.
A great moment on Father Vassey getting intense towards the shadow builder along with great energetic moments on him firing his gun which looked intensely well done.
A good shot on Vassey standing at a church with a good camera shot zooming in the areas.
Good close up shot on Doc Cole checking out a corpse and then this corpse rising with him freaking out as well as him getting intimidated when the Shadowbuilder appears before him with good close up shots on this demon speaking evilly towards him as this was impressive when he asks him who he is.
The boy's uncle Sam who is the head sheriff is stalked by Father Vassey in which you wonder if he's out to kill him but trying to get help from him in which the story seemed to look fairly interesting with what he has to tell him. I was thinking during this moment that Vassey is a very strange man indeed.
A good shot on an old man showing an evil expression while holding an axe and then about to swing it down towards his wife which looked horrorlike.
Then there's moments with little kids tearing apart their rubber dolls and making a pentagram which looked cheesy but at the same time was very useful for the story and what it will unravel. Plus there's even a moment with an old man about to butcher his wife which looks like that there's possessions happening here. However it's imaginative seeing things coming out when it's dark and effected by the light which is every child imagination being afraid of the dark but with the cheesy computerised effects it is not scary at all.
There's a nice peaceful moment with a woman calling to a dog with it whimpering away which looked natural as well as this moment creepy plus good close up shots on spirits of rottweilers clenching its teeth towards her and she gets nervous backing up and trying to get away which also looked believeably intimidating.
The story does get better with Chris running away from spiritual demonic dogs along with confronting the Shadowmaker along with everyone else which packs alot of action. Also, there's alot of fun touches with other possessed people trying to turn off the lights while the sane one's are struggling against them to keep it on.
There's great moments with Vassey and Sam trying to struggle against others in a home preventing them for killing the electricity which looked highly energised and suspensefully shot.
A nice shot on someone walking on a roadway bloody like and acting nervous as well as reacting aggressively seeing a hallucination next to a telephone pole and great close up shots on him whacking his axe to the pole.
There's good shots on Chris climbing on a roof and trying to escape from the Shadowbuilder and telling him off.
More good shots on him lying on an object while the Shadowbuilder tries to perform a sacrifice with nice shots on some excitements going on which looked good and gothic.
Bottom line is this film was a bit boring and almost gave it a below average rating until quarter way through when the excitment that was mentioned started happening. The story was created by cult horror icon Bram Stoker.

The acting is not too bad which seems a bit better than the story itself. Michael Rooker (Father Vassey) really brought out alot of terrific horror energy in his role as a disturbed preacher warrior type in which he does well with his battles and crazed aggressions too.
Shawn Thompson
(Sheriff Sam Logan) played the handsome officer next door type of role in which he came across nicely in his role having a good charm and outgoing behavior to his part. Plus he shows some good energy during the struggling moments too.
Kevin Zegers
(Chris Hatcher) seemed to draw attention well as a preteen kid who seems to be curious about stuff and getting into mischief. He seemed to really get into this role as well as showing a great adventureous attitude too when the suspense packs up which is a great plus for him to top it off.
He was good by telling the Shadowbuilder character off which looked natural and well done.
Tony Todd
(Evert Covey) this time plays a humoress eccentric character instead of playing the dark serious roles like he did as the Candyman. He really proved to be a versatile actor and I liked his part acting like a goofy type of person who doesn't take things too seriously. I give my hats off for this guy on taking a different part for a horror film this time around.
Andrew Jackson
(The Shadowbuilder) looked good for his role even if alot of his looks was created by computerised effects. He really brings on a good tempting attitude to his role with a good soothing evilness to his speaking too. He pulls all of this off nicely.
James B. Douglas
(Doc Cole) potrayed a creamtor of some sort in the film in which he shows a good hyped up and nervous attitude in his role in which he came off perfectly while doing all of this. I had to mention him since he brought some goofy type of wit to the part.

Shawn Thompson briefly has his butt exposed while getting out of bed.

There's some powerful thunderous classical composing throughout the film with drums and cymbals clanging as well as great trombone and violin music. Plus there's cheesy chanting here and there too for the gothic moments. Also there's windy sounds too. All of this seemed not too bad composed by Ecckart Seeber.