Movie Review: Bram Stoker’s Shadow Builder (Special Edition) Blu-ray

Shadow Builder is loosely based on a short story by Bram Stoker. The movie was directed by Jamie Dixon from a screenplay by Michael Stokes and stars Michael Rooker, Leslie Hope, Kevin Zegers, Shawn Thompson, Richard McMillan, Nicole Stoffman and Tony Todd.

A demon is summoned to take the soul of a young boy, who has the potential to become a saint. If the demon succeeds, it will open a doorway to Hell, blazing a terrifying trail of destruction, possession, mayhem and destroy humanity. Now the fate of the world hinges on the final outcome of a renegade priest’s battle with the soul eating Shadow Builder.

The opening scene in Bram Stoker’s Shadow Builder shows a corrupt priest who summons this evil supernatural force called the Shadow Builder which is an ancient soul collector that could possibly open the gateway to hell. The plan is to destroy the world but the Shadow Builder has to locate and forcefully take the soul of Chris Hatcher (Kevin Zegers), a young boy who accidentally becomes the center piece in a battle of good versus evil. Standing in the way and ready to fight against this powerful evil force is Father Vassey (Michael Rooker), this edgy, gunslinging priest who’s tasked with finding the boy and protecting him from this ancient evil before it gets to him.

Father Vassey does find Chris and he’s joined by the boy’s Aunt Jennifer (Leslie Hope), Sheriff Sam Logan (Shawn Thompson) and the town outcast Evert Covey (Tony Todd) and together they do whatever it takes to protect the young boy and fight back against this sinister supernatural force. The small group goes up against the Shadow Builder in the ultimate showdown to save the young boy’s soul and prevent this ancient evil from destroying the world and they ultimately come out victorious, but not without sacrifice. In the end, the edgy Father Vassey takes one for the team and Chris is saved from this sinister threat that is finally defeated.

The packaging comes with a retro-cool slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and the impressive list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your pick which side you want to use as the front cover. There’s also a collectible foldout poster inside. The Blu-ray disc is flat white and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade by MVD were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this release.

Bottom line is, Bram Stoker’s Shadow Builder is a movie I remember renting from my local video store back in the day and I hadn’t seen it since. This home video release came along with a few other horror titles that borrowed or used the name of Bram Stoker simply to push the product a little better. Also, none of these straight to home video releases ended up being horror classics. This movie kind of plays like a Syfy original and as cheesy as it is, it’s still a fun supernatural creeper that features a great cast. By the way, the cast is the best part about this movie. The story for Shadow Builder felt a little familiar because we’ve gotten plenty of these over the years so there’s really no originality as far as that goes. As far as the special effects go, the low budget visuals look okay and there’s a few practicals to go along with that. The rocking creature design looked like something left over from the Headbanger’s Ball days. I have it admit that I enjoyed revisiting this 1998 supernatural creeper and the MVD Rewind Collection did a fantastic job with the high-def upgrade and extras. Bram Stoker’s Shadow Builder will be available on Blu-ray for the first time ever on August 28th.

Distributor: MVD Rewind Collection

Run Time: 101 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English LPCM 2.0

Subtitles: Spanish

Special Features: The extras include some audio commentary, three brand new featurettes, a collectible foldout poster and official trailer.

  • Audio Commentary from Director Jamie Dixon
  • NEW! ‘Making of Shadowbuilder’ featurette (HD, 33:22) (featuring director Jamie Dixon, writer Michael Stokes and stars Andrew Jackson (The Shadowbuilder) and Tony Todd (Covey)
  • NEW! ‘Shadowbuilder: Visual Effects’ featurette (HD, 13:26)
  • NEW! ‘Shadowbuilder: Kevin Zegers’ featurette (HD, 5:00)
  • Official Trailer (01:32) – The Shadow Builder trailer is included along with five other new releases from the MVD Rewind Collection
  • Collectible Poster


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