Shadow: Dead Riot (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"Shadow comes on like the low-budget love child of Evil Dead and Reform School Girls, a crazy camp blitzkrieg of lockdown melodrama, kung fu catfights, black-magic corniness, exploding torsos, perverted doctors, impromptu zombie childbirth and bountiful lesbian shower scenes."

The New York Times

"... naked girls whaling on each other, flesh-ripping zombies and genre stalwart Todd growling and glowering satanically from beneath a mane of dreadlocks"

TV Guide

If you read those reviews, you probably already realize that this is a peculiar movie. If you think about it a little bit, you'll realize there is also something odd about the distribution of this film. The New York Times doesn't review straight-to-vid movies. Shadow received a brief theatrical release. Given that it is a kung-fu zombie women-in-prison film, you have to find that an amazing accomplishment. Perhaps it is because it is the Citizen Kane of kung-fu zombie women-in-prison films. Just so you know that all of those diverse genres are sewn together seamlessly, I probably should tell you that the head zombie and the new girl in prison are both expert martial artists with preternatural abilities (lots of wirework), and they eventually fight each other. As it happens, the zombie is also a voodoo zombie who exploded when he died, and the new girl is his daughter. Oh, yeah, and he can talk with the living, although his army of the undead consists of the usual growling, shambling, mindless, brain-eating kinds of zombies. Oh, yeah, and the loopy prison doctor has been injecting her with her father's blood, which he saved from the post-explosion mess ...

... and there are about a million other such bizarre plot elements

Let's face it, the plot actually defies any kind of concise, conventional description. If you really want the rundown, the official site has a detailed summary.

The inspiration for the film was a 1991 Hong King actioner called The Story of Ricky, which one reviewer described as, "so gleefully over-the-top that it exists in its own ludicrous stratosphere and is one of the most memorable Hong Kong exploitation films ever made." You could make virtually the same comments about Shadow: Dead Riot, and add that it is also filled with plenty of gratuitous shower and sex scenes, thus elevating it to even greater exploitation heights than the original.

What can I say? I know it's exploitative junk that probably should have gone straight to video, and probably deserves its low scores at Metacritic and IMDb, but I found it fascinating and very competent in many ways. It is not only over-the-top with grotesque violence and ludicrous plotting, but it is also imaginative and atmospheric. I like the clammy and stylized prison location they chose, and I like the lighting effects used to make it seem surreal and otherworldly. I like the ever-charismatic Tony Todd (Candyman) as the voodoo zombie. I like the fact that it doesn't take itself seriously, and never hesitates to go to any silly extreme. The film has some rough edges, and the acting is not good at all, but in spite of that it's one of the more entertaining B movies I've seen in a long time.



  • Behind the scenes featurette, cast and crew interviews
  • Large image gallery
  • Widescreen anamorphic (16x9)


  • Misty Mundae- full frontal

  • Danielle Riley - all

  • Aggie Valdez - topless

  • Anna Curtis - breast and buns

  • Toy - breasts

  • Various extras are naked in the shower, including some full frontals

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C-, one weird-ass movie, but I got into it and found it fun.

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