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Incorrectly Titled “Death in the Shadows”

Death in the Shadows
Year: 1985
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Director: Vivian Pieters
Stars: Maayke Bouten, Erik de Vries, Johan Leyes

The next film in the Pure Terror Collection is this interesting Dutch film Death in the Shadows.

First – a shout out.  All of the pictures I’ve used in this review come from Maynard Morrissey’s Horror Movie Diary – a fellow horror blogger you should definitely check out.  He’s not only made it through all 50 of the movies in this Pure Terror set but several other horror collections as well.  Recently he interviewed me for his Horror Blogger of the Month so, seriously, check his site out!

Death in the Shadows ought to have a different title.  There is Death (not a whole lot of it though) and NONE of it occurs in the shadows.  So, here’s some suggestions for different titles.

The Prey

The original Dutch title for this film is De Prooi which Google translate tells me means “The Prey.”  I suppose that title makes sense given some of the sequences.  For instance, the film’s opening…

An elderly woman gets off the bus and is on her way home at night.  She gets off the bus and starts walking down the street.  A car is following her, stalking her – the way a hunter stalks its prey.  Yeah, she’s run down and murdered.  It’s not a “Death in the Shadows”  it’s a “Death in the Headlights.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the scene itself – its actually very creepy and well shot – but it doesn’t fit into the film’s given title of Death in the Shadows.    No… The Prey is a much better description.  Considering there are other attempts throughout the film to copy this death scene (hey, what works once can work again), The Prey works as a better title.

death in shadows 1

Lifetime Original Films Presents: “Who Was My Mother?”

death in shadows 2The main protagonist in this movie is a young girl named Valerie.  After her mother is killed in this hit and run accident, she learns about a world of untold secrets her mother kept hidden.  First, Valerie’s mother was not her mother, nor was Valerie’s father even her father.  In fact her mother wasn’t even married – didn’t have a job, didn’t maintain herself on a widow’s pension.  Just who was this strange woman that raised Valerie?

It definitely has the feel of a made-for-TV mystery you would see on the Lifetime Channel (Television for women).  I don’t really bring this up as a bad thing however.  I like the mystery in Death in the Shadows – it piqued my curiosity and I honestly wanted to see how it all played out.  However, I could never shake the feeling that I had seen this movie before – on Lifetime.  I just KNEW that at some point it was all going to come back to spousal abuse.  I’m not going to say if there it ever comes to that or not – its a mystery you really should check out yourself.

Those are just two options for alternate titles for Death in the Shadows.  It was a good, atmospheric film that told an entertaining mystery.  Sure it felt like something to kill a few hours on cable TV – but among the better of that “genre.”  The music is interesting and is the film’s highlight.  Most of the music works great and the bits that don’t fail at a laughable aspect.

Next up for the Pure Terror Collection?  I start Disc 6 with The Embalmer.  I imagine it’s about dead folks.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.

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