Schlock & Gore: Shadowbuilder (1998)

directed by Jamie Dixon
runtime: 120 mins give or take

In a race between the darkness and the light, a shadow demon is after the kid from Air Bud, and he’s tearing the town apart to get to him. Representing the light is Yondu—er, Michael Rooker as Father Jacob, a gun-toting preacher who says things like “according to the dark text…” Its a healthy helping of 90’s Gothic Schlock.


There’s some reeeeal unholy limburger here. Stinkcheese so thick you’d need a chainsaw to cut it. But, what starts out feeling like a major miss insidiously becomes fun as all fuck.

In the beginning, we are treated to the images of ritual. A bleeding bible. Bodies for sacrifice. A chanting cult. This is the event that brings the shadow demon into the real world. The demon of darkness then travels through the (you guessed it) shadows in order to fill his kill quota. A rookie cop gets pwned at a cemetery, and more lives are spent on the shadowbuilder’s quest to get to the boy and open the void, which would lead to hell on Earth.

Oh no, anything but that…

After about 45 minutes the movie kicks into fast-paced action/thriller territory as the town descends into madness, and that’s where the real fun lies. Despite the best efforts of Yondu—GODDAMMIT I mean Father Jacob and the sheriff advising people to stay in the light, the town still goes bonkers as the eclipse approaches. The eclipse that would provide the perfect opportunity for void opening. Nice touch.

And that was the last time I saw Buddy.

An old man wields an axe, A chick gets naked and grinds a cross in a graveyard, flaming chairs are thrown from porches, and everyone is fighting and causing chaos. Oh, and Tony Todd plays the dreadlock-rocking, eyepatch wearing town nut who doesn’t want to share his light.

<insert Bonanza theme song or something>

The SFX are the definition of hokey at times, but If you can watch The Lawnmower man without turning your eyes into shish-ka-bobs, then Shadowbuilder won’t give you any trouble.

I noticed numerous plotholes, and that’s coming from a person who doesn’t typically notice plotholes. Plothole: the demon needs one soul for every year the boy from Air Bud has spent in the light. Inexplicably he only goes for main characters while the whole town is there for the taking. Plothole?: In an effort to repel a shadow creature, Air Bud kid grabs a camera to use its flash. The camera was hanging conveniently and inexplicably from a nail inside a cabinet door. And there are more things like this. I honestly didn’t care because it seemed to jive with the special-TV-event feel of it all.

I am the Shadowbuilder building shadows n shit.

Maybe my expectations were low, but I got a real kick out of this flick. It’s stupid to be sure, but if you crave the dark 90’s direct-to-video atmosphere, it’s hard to go wrong with Shadowbuilder.

A solid 6/10 movie with a 9/10 release from the MVD Rewind Collection.

Stay slime, and be rad at all times!


Oh and here’s a creepy old lady.

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