FIN REVIEW: Shadow In The Mirror should have had more presence

Shadow In The Mirror is a frustrating picture. The cast, crew, writer and director are some Nova Scotian treasures.

So it’s difficult to say this, but I had hoped this film would be much better. I’ve now watch it twice — once before it’s Eastlink premiere and once prior to FIN — but the same things keep gnawing away at me.

This is supposed to be a spooky tale about a college professor’s search for information about a silent film star, which leads to her spend a weekend in the remote cabin she reportedly died at.

It has a fantastic set-up with well-drawn characters, but the execution falters. One wishes there was a better script in service of Holly Stevens — who seems to be struggling with the dialogue as much as I was. A saving grace is the layered performance from Sandy MacLean.

This is a great set, and the film boasts some wonderful, brooding editing and cinematography. But the film’s dialogue — director-writer Ron Foley MacDonald’s creation — is stilted and flat.

In journalism school were were consistently told to “show, don’t tell”, and yet watching Shadow In The Mirror felt like I had described video on. I really wished some of the actions and nuances had been left to my imagination, as being spoonfed a story isn’t my cup of tea.

Chelsea Comeau — cinematographer and editor here — made last year’s incredible FIN entry Creepy Crawling, and she has a grand style all her own. So does MacDonald, who is building quite a career as a writer-producer.

I just wish he had’ve stuck to substance and a bit of tact with this entry, as it could have been a fantastic watch. Despite this lukewarm review, I think Comeau, Stevens and Foley MacDonald have great futures in the industry.

Let’s just hope this one fades into the shadows, so the next collaboration they have together can shine bright.

2/5 Stars

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