About the Film
SHIFTED, directed by Adrian Konstant and written by Konstant and Jason T. Green is a straight-up creature feature that’s a cross between THE THING and ANNIHILATION.
The opening scene serves up the gore straight away with some great blood and prosthetic effects. It helps set up the premise of the movie while not delivering on the “body snatcher” element right away.
The director builds tension slowly over the course of the just-short-of-ninety-minute film, giving a few scares along the way to keep things interesting.
The cinematography is a little uneven. Most of the important shots are done really well, and the overall effects are studio caliber, but some of the b-roll and pickups feel like lower-budget indie fare.
The sound design is good, and the scares along with the incidental music are punchy and work well together. The set design in the house is also really good. It absolutely feels like a place that was hurriedly converted into a makeshift fort for the survivor group. The addition of it being Winter outside adds some great contrast between the indoor and outdoor shots.
The “survivors trapped in a house” schtick is something that has been done long before NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD made it fashionable but SHIFTED feels like a fresh take on the sub-genre, possibly because of the way it relates to the pandemic everyone else is currently experiencing. The characters literally have a conversation about the origins of the infected monsters stalking them, giving out every idea in the horror canon book; “Cooked up in a lab”, “bitten like a vampire or a zombie” are just some of the ideas throw around by the characters, adding a little level of realism to the film, as the conceit is that they all live in the same world we do, and those movies and monsters exist in their celluloid dreams.
The “survivors” in the house are played a little cliched, and the acting is touch-and-go from almost everyone in the movie. Some of the acting choices feel forced, like they were following the script too intensely, or the director had a very specific delivery in their head when they were shooting.
They attempt to inject a little humanity by giving a few flashbacks to before the monsters began roaming the streets, but it really only serves as a distraction from the over-arching plotline.
As a horror piece, SHIFTED knocks it out of the park and succeeds on its premise. There are some genuinely scary moments in this film and the effects really stand out.