What to Watch on Shudder: The Dead Zone and More!

Here is what to watch on Shudder this Bank Holiday weekend, featuring The Dead Zone, Let The Right One In, and In The Night

What to Watch on Shudder: The Dead Zone

The combination of David Cronenberg and Stephen King will surely delight horror fans. Whilst The Dead Zone fits more succinctly into the thriller category than the horror, the film nevertheless has enough to offer those looking for the supernatural. After waking up from a coma, accident victim Johnny discovers he has a psychic ability. Starring Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, and Martin Sheen, the 1983 film still feels resonant today. Cronenberg mixes supernatural activity with a tense drama. As the film builds to its conclusion, the themes feel both universal (asking viewers would they do the same if given Johnny’s ability) and politically contemporary. The Dead Zone does not trade on jump scares. Instead, it opts for an unsettling tone that lingers.

What to Watch on Shudder: Let The Right One In

2008 Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In has become part of the vampire movie canon for good reason. The horror-drama is about a young boy who befriends his neighbour Eli, although she cannot come out to play during the day. The film is about an endearing friendship, albeit one played out through the instrument of vampirism. Director Thomas Alfredson’s film was given an American remake in the form of Let Me In. Those who have not seen the original should rectify this, however, as it is the superior film.

What to Watch on Shudder: In The Night

This 2015 short is a tense little number. Directed by Joshua Erkman, In The Night is about a new mortuary worker asking his more veteran colleague about his strangest experience on the job. The short film is expertly paced, with tension building steadily to its climax. In The Night almost feels like a prelude to a feature-length film, and it a great showcase for writer-director Erkman.

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Film Review: The Way

The Way is certainly an emotional film, but one that thankfully does not succumb to bleakness. Emilio Estevez does a good job of crafting an absorbing story.

Ophthalmologist Tom receives a call that his son Daniel has died during a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago. Tom travels to France to retrieve Daniel’s body, but whilst he is there he decides to follow Daniel’s journey on the Camino, hoping to complete the walk for his late son…

Written for the screen, directed by and starring Emilio Estevez, The Way clearly is a project close to Estevez’s heart. The film tells a very personal tale, made all the more intimate given its paradoxical setting on such a vast landscape. The plot is fairly straightforward; it is the method of storytelling that makes The Way interesting.

Estevez treats his characters and surroundings with respect, creating a harmonious balance of intimacy and objectivity. He captures the magnificence of the surroundings without neglecting the story. Although the film is concerned with Tom’s grief for the most part, other aspects of the narrative are given appropriate attention. At first, Tom’s companions appear a little stereotypical. However, once relationships in the group develop, his new friends are given more depth and their personalities seem more natural.

Each member of the group has their own mission to fulfil; these are not as obvious as first impressions suggest. The focus of the film is on Tom, but this does not mean his companions are overlooked. Estevez underscores the importance of the Camino for all the main characters. Despite the religious overtones, the film is more about spirituality than doctrine. The journey is cathartic for everyone, particularly Tom.

Performances are good all round in The Way. Martin Sheen is convincing as the grieving but determined father. Filming a story about a grieving father and a deceased son must have been an interesting dynamic for Sheen and Estevez, who plays the son Daniel in the film. Deborah Kara Ungar is effective as Sarah, while James Nesbitt is suitably loquacious as writer Jack.

The film uses music to effectively convey emotions, and the different stages of the journey. The sprawling landscape seems ripe for a score, but the film uses a good mixture of well-known songs and world music instead. The imagery is wonderful, with the film being shot entirely on location.

The Way is a reflective picture that never becomes as morbid as it could. The film successfully exhibits Estevez’s directorial flair.