Shifted is a Canadian thriller that comes in with a bang. As we’re trying to get our bearings in the world, we watch a man calmly kill his wife. He then joins a small group of survivors as if nothing happens. These neighbors find themselves inside a house filled with mistrust. However, it’s the safest place to hide out from what seems to be a zombie apocalypse outside. When things turn deadly as bodies start piling up, the remaining members try to figure out who among them is a killer.
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Shifted has a lot of interesting moments. However, knowing who the killer is takes some of the air out of what could be a fun whodunnit. However, we love to see paranoia among people who must rely on each other, which is why we keep revisiting films like The Thing, Invasion of The Body Snatchers, and even The Faculty. We also love zombies, even when the budget doesn’t let the full vision through. Shifted also has a very unique way of using shadow and camera angles to keep our inner film nerd happy. These are usually used in moments that don’t quite earn that level of craftsmanship though. These are things director Adrien Konstant juggles exceedingly well in this feature.
Where Shifted begins to unravel is with the performances. To be fair, most of the characters are written as a little too one-dimensional, even for this world. However, the women characters are not given enough connective tissue to make anything they do make sense. At one point, one of them began to turn, and I couldn’t tell because they had all been acting weird the whole time.
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There is also a sound issue that makes it seem like a lot of people are whispering. Some of the non-whisperers seem to be speaking in a monotone. This prevents the film from ever reaching the necessary sense of urgency this type of movie deserves. I wondered if this was a shared actor choice or if there was an issue with sound mixing the whole movie.
Shifted’s large body of secrets and dead characters are denied their full glory because of the way important lines are dropped. Also, most of the twists and turns are too obvious to ever really feel earned. The standout moment for me, aside from the murder at the top of the film, is when a music box plays “La vie en Rose”. Not because the scene is a standout but because I just happen to like that song. I found myself more intrigued by the music box than the moment that should’ve been pushing the story forward. I found myself doing this for most of the interrogation scenes, too. Instead of caring about the half-hearted attempts to raise stakes, I was looking at the lack of energy in these exchanges. I wondered what led to these choices, or lack thereof.
Let me know if you’ve caught Shifted @misssharai.
Shifted scratches the Canadian made-for-TV movie itch for those of us who have a soft spot for those. However, it, unfortunately, doesn’t offer much more than that.