The Cradle of Shadows (2015)

Writer: Jacob Jerome
Director: Jacob Jerome

The Cradle Of Shadows (aka Le Berceau des Ombres) is a French horror movie written and directed by Jacob Jerome who also appears in the film.

The story follows a group of parapsychologists led by Professor Berly (Matthias Pohl) who are called in to investigate the disappearance of an industrial worker at an underground war bunker. This is a very modern ghost hunt: Berly himself is a rationalist and the group bring along a large variety of computers, sensors and cameras. It’s not long before they record the presence of something and soon wish they hadn’t…

It’s a fairly standard set up and the narrative chugs along as expected. As soon as the ghost hunters arrive at the bunker they’re told that it has miles of unexplored passages and was used by the Nazis during World War II. You pretty much know then where the story’s going.

It’s not badly done, but nor did it really grab me. The bunker should have made for a great location, full of claustrophobic menace. But somehow the atmosphere never really gelled. Part of this is due to Remy going a bit too far with the darkness, some of the scenes were confusing rather than scary. Shaky camerawork even when not a camera-eye view also diminished rather than enhanced the atmosphere.

The script is also partly to blame. Despite the predictability of what’s to come we take a long time getting there. During the journey the film constantly seeks to wind up the tension only to puncture it with a fake jump scare or simply a harmless reveal.

There are also a number of questions and loose ends in the plot. I would have described these as massive plot holes, however the film’s very final scene hints at an explanation without actually going into any detail.

The final 20 minutes of Cradle of Shadows is actually quite decent, but this isn’t enough to raise The Cradle Of Shadows from being simply mediocre.