Shadow Hours (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs down

Scoopy's comments in white 

Do you even have to watch this one? All the clues are there. It stars Tane McClure, so you know there will be nudity. It starts Peter Weller, so you know it will be twisted. And it stars Balthazar Getty, so you know it will suck.

The supporting players include Brad Dourif and the guy who plays Worf on Star Trek. Just your run-of-the-mill odd cast.

I guess you'd have to say it's a grade C cast, since McClure is the Grade C Shannon Tweed, and Getty is the Grade C Charlie Sheen, but Weller uplifts it a bit by being the Grade B James Woods.

Getty's character is recovering from substance abuse, working the night shift at a 24 hour convenience store in a run-down urban neighborhood. The only ray of hope in his life is an angel who found him and helped him pull himself up from addiction - his angel is his sweet Memphis wife (Rebecca Gayheart), and she's pregnant with their first baby.

Into this scene comes Weller, who is a dark angel - a human psychotic or perhaps Satan or who knows what? Maybe he's also the guy who is mass murdering women and twisting their heads 180 degrees. That's the way they say it in the movie. 180 degrees. Never 179. The killer is a real stickler for details. Some detectives seem to think Weller is the guy who is doing it. Among those police sleuths are Worf and that guy who became evil when he put on Jim Carrey's mask.

Whatever he is, Weller has an infinite amount of money, an infinite taste for the demented side of the city, and an infinite interest in corrupting Getty, so he starts by offering the poor recovering alcoholic the best wine in the world, and proceeds to run him through every temptation L.A. has to offer - sex clubs, opium dens, Knott's Berry Farm, underground fight clubs, S&M, B&D, M&M's, and gambling dens where you can bet on Russian Roulette. Russian Roulette? What a bunch of pussies. In my family we played Polish Roulette, in which all six barrels are full. This is why we don't need a big hall for a family reunion. Usually a mop closet is plenty of room.

All these "temptations" are shown through montages with plenty of dissolves and fast cuts, cameras turned at odd angles, and Satanic heavy metal music. The newest-wave cinema cliche is to pick a song with a strong back beat for the sound track, then switch to a new film image on every beat or every second beat, in synch with the music. Of course, you have to choose the music correctly to suit the filmmaker's pace. Bergman would have to use "Volga Boatman". Spike Jonez could go for "Flight of the Bumblebee"


Two hookers from a strip joint (Tane McClure and Cheryl Dent) show breasts. There are also unknown strippers.
 Well, ol' Getty survives somehow. Oh, sure, he picks up a few scars along the way, falls back off the wagon, and gets some serious Knott's Berry stains on his 7-Eleven uniform, but he survives. Somehow Weller survives as well. In a climactic shoot out with police, Weller kills a bunch of cops, takes a few bullets to the chest, then walks away into the shadows. He could have killed one of the detectives on his way out, but he just holds a gun to the guy's head and says "see ya next time".

When Getty decides to make a new life, and leaves town with his wife, Weller gets himself a new deluxe car and stars over again with another young man down on his luck.

Bring up Twilight Zone music and Rod Serling narration.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no features

Tuna's comments in yellow

Shadow Hours (2000) opened on 7 screens and went quickly down to none. It is an odd noir character driven drama about an ex addict with a pregnant wife and a graveyard shift job at an all-night gas station. Life doesn't get much worse, so he is tempted to sample the wild side by a customer who claims to be an author willing to pay for help in researching his next book. This "research" entails visiting every sleazy and depraved joint in the Los Angelus, and the ex-addict, Balthazar Getty, becomes increasingly drawn in to vice and corruption by the evil Peter Weller. I disliked it. D+ 

The Critics Vote

  • No major reviewers

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 12% positive reviews. (One out of eight. What was that guy thinking of?)

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.5
  • With their dollars ... $37,000 on seven screens. It was on DVD within a month after its last theatrical appearance!
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics - or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My 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. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. 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 between a D- (Scoop) and D+ (Tuna).

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