A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows, a direct-to-DVD movie, is being marketed as "a horror movie for kids." The movie includes horror elements like an ancient curse, teens in peril, blood dripping from eyes, and a maniacal villain, but the cartoonish nature and amateurish special effects make it laughable rather than scary. A team of high school bullies insult and menace the movie's heroes, at least until they're potential victims of the two centuries-old conjurer of evil. Violence is threatened -- black clouds, strange noises, ghostly apparitions, wide-eyed horror from those in danger, including a little girl -- but no violent acts occur. Adults drink wine in a social situation, and teens pour an alcoholic beverage into the punch at a high school party. A few minor curse words are heard ("damn," "hell"), along with some name-calling ("nerd," "little witch").
What's the story?
Sophie Carson (Isabella Blake-Thomas) has moved to Los Angeles with her archeologist dad, Edward (Michael Piccirilli), her mom, and little sister when THE LEAGUE OF LEGEND KEEPERS: SHADOWS begins. The family has been all over the world as Edward collected five of six pendants with a dire, centuries-old legend attached. Whoever has possession of all six of the pendants becomes all-powerful, and can destroy the world. In a stroke of good fortune and with a lot of hard work, Edward has traced the sixth and final pendant to a location on the site of a local high school. What the Carson family doesn't realize is that an equally ancient and very angry villain has tracked them all along, and is desperate to get his hands on the pendants. A budding young inventor (Gabe Eggerling), three troubled bullies, and a mysterious team of scientific guardians join forces with Sophie, who as an object of the curse, must stop the vile enemy before it's too late.
Is it any good?
Other than a capable performance by Isabella Blake-Thomas, there's nothing to like about this film, which suffers from a ludicrous story, cheesy special effects, wooden acting, and bad direction. Low-budget doesn't necessarily mean low quality; unskilled filmmakers can make a bad movie no matter how much they spend. In the case of The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows, it isn't the budget that makes it almost unwatchable. Story elements introduced (i.e., a teacher who is the victim of a curse) never pay off. The thought of a stellar archeologist giving an important speech at a high school Halloween party is as nonsensical as the final climactic jeopardy, and all badly executed. It seems that the filmmakers are threatening to make a series of movies with the characters they've introduced, who do, indeed, join together to make a "League" of some sort.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of horror movies, especially for tweens and teens. What elements are present in a horror movie? Why do you think audiences, and in particular young audiences, like to be scared and/or grossed out? In what way(s) does The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows fit the description of a horror film?
What makes a scary villain? Is he or she necessarily frightening to look at? Loud? Can villains present even greater menace by being a quiet threat? Mentally unbalanced? Unusually powerful?
How does the end of the story imply that this movie may be followed by others featuring "The League of Legend Keepers?" What do you think determines whether or not a movie will have sequels to follow?
Do you think horror movies should be at least semi-believable to be frightening, or do you think outrageous or nonsensical stories work just as well? Explain your answer.
- On DVD or streaming: December 10, 2019
- Cast: Isabella Blake-Thomas, Gabe Eggerling, Michael Piccirilli
- Director: Elizabeth Blake-Thomas
- Studio: Uncork'd Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 72 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: January 10, 2020
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