On a dark, cold & windy night—you’re being chased after by a hatchet-wielding maniac and you are more than likely not going to survive from this. Suddenly you wake up lying on your bed and realize it was all just a fucked up nightmare, but next to you in bed is cleft-chinned actor Jaime Moreno. So what exactly is the true nightmare in all this? Being chased after by hatchet-wielding maniac? Or is it being married to Jaime Moreno? In La Sombra De La Muerte (aka "Shadow of Death"), it’s both. Literally.
Ana Maria (Ivonne Govea) is on the edge of a nervous breakdown and not even the best of drugs can make her feel better nor make those horrible nightmares she’s been having go away! It’s always the same nightmare too—which is being chased after by a hatchet-wielding maniac late at night and there’s always lots of fog around the house & inanimate objects in Ana’s house move around by themselves (minus the many magnets on her refridgerator). Could a supernatural entity be causing Ana to breakdown? A ghost from the past maybe? Nah. It’s actually Ana’s husband Gerardo (Jaime Moreno)—a scheming philanderer who’s having an affair with Ana's psychiatrist Karen (Lina Santos). Gerardo wants Ana to go crazy enough to end up dying so he can inherit all of her assets—thus he has Karen prescribe Ana with hallucinogenics and Gerardo even goes as far as to hire his maid & chauffeur to help out with this fuckery. The chauffeur by the way is dating Ana’s niece Margarita (Laura Tovar) who begins to suspect something very fishy is going on. She’s about the only person who thinks Ana is not going crazy all on her own.
I watched La Sombra De La Muerte 3 times in total and after the 3rd time I realized how very bloated this movie is since it tries to fit in several twists towards the end. It’s like both screenwriters Laura Tovar & Carlos Valdemar couldn’t decide what one twist to go with and just decided to have several all together thinking it would work out, but the final product proved otherwise since you’re left with much head-scratching & some cringing. Despite all that though—La Sombra De La Muerte is entertaining for what it is and it’s not a total bore at all. If anything, you’ll menially enjoy the movie & perhaps even laugh at all the ridiculousness going on and of course be terrified of Jaime Moreno’s unusually large cleft-chin. Jaime is quite the character in real life and in the movies even more so.
The nightmare scenes are the best parts of La Sombra De La Muerte since we’re treated to eerie & cheap-sounding stock music playing and a fog machine was clearly abused for this movie since there’s so much use of fog in the nightmare scenes & finale. There’s also some cheap oil paintings of Ana around the house that are quite terrifying, but mostly they’re just really bad ones. A child clearly did them. Or a weed-dependent art girl.
For more Laura Tovar-written horror weirdness/cheapness, check out La Muerte Acecha (1993)