Props to the makers of “The Shunned” for their ambition in making a period piece. For a no-budget indie film to try and place their slasher flick in the Old West was bold. I’ve now said everything positive that there is to say about this film.
The marshall comes to town and enlists the aid of the local sheriff in solving the slaughter of a family by an axe-wielding murderer. As the two attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery, the body count rises until the inevitable final confrontation. For a movie that seemed to have at least the promise of originality from its setting, everything else about this film was straight out of the text book. They attempted to throw in a bit of a “twist”, but it’s weak and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anyway. The fact that almost everything is ripped off from other films doesn’t even begin to tell the tale of this movie problems, though.
One needs to be a bit forgiving with an independent film. You can’t look for all of the bells and whistles and you have to expect some rough edges, but this film was downright amateurish. I can forgive the acting and even the dialog. The sets and costumes were adequate, if not impressive. The first thing one notices is the sound – which is awful and unintelligible at times. There was also an effort to make the film seem “dated” by sepia toning it, but with cheap lighting, the end result is a dark, muddy mess. Altering the film to create “flashbacks” becomes completely lost in the slop and while it helps to soften the cheap effects and actually helps their killer look a bit better by not throwing too much light on him, other parts of the film become impossible to follow.
The best that one can say about “The Shunned” is that is was ambitious. But shooting for the stars and missing this badly still can’t really be classified as anything other than a disappointment. Shun this movie.