Shadow Hunters (2004)

Rating: B

Dir: John Johnson
Star: David Simmons, Ted Taylor, John Johnson, Rebecca Taylor

Watching this the same night as the awful Terror at Baxter U proved a fitting contrast, because this is how a low-budget film should work. You take what you can get – in this case, a large, deserted building, some imagination, and a lot of underwear clad co-eds – and run with it, as fast as you can. In this case, it works, and the end-result is fine entertainment. The four good guys of the title are a posse who travel the world slaying demons; however, they could only contain the evil Malphaedor. Five years later, a hospital has been built on the site, but a rash of deaths makes them realise Malphaedor has been released. So they go in to take care of business once and for all…not realising a local sorority is hazing new recruits, by making them spend the night in the now-abandoned building. In their lingerie, natch.

What this lacks in polish, it makes up for in energy and enthusiasm, with hardly a dull moment. The acting is a cut above expected, the Shadow Hunters mostly bringing the necessary weight to their roles – Johnson is too show-offish in his role, however, and needs to be careful he doesn’t turn into Tarantino in front of the camera. Behind it, though, no such problems, as the spirit of Malphaedor richochets around gleefully (the over-acting there is actually appropriate), alternately possessing and slaying those with whom he comes in contact. His final form is, admittedly, disappointing, but this relatively flat climax is about the only time the budget really shows; otherwise, the nudity and gore help distract the viewer nicely. The potential here is almost limitless, and further entries in the series would be very welcome.