2. Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow Watchers (2011)
The difficulty I have in defending this film is in being original. Much of what I would say in defence of this film I have already said about the Antflix 2011 classic “Sherlock Holmes” starring Kevin Glaser. This is another film with an endearing amateur feel and the main joy I got from it was how unintentionally funny it was. In that respect, it is actually better than the Antflix film. I found myself laughing almost all the way through. High points were the world’s longest strangulation scene at the start, the squirty blood up the wall and the re-dubbed voices leading to dubious lip-syncing.
By far, my favourite accidental humour came from Inspector Lestrade who for some reason was cast as an Irish Barry Chuckle who looks to have just about got through some sort of rehabilitation programme and is now in the business of delivering lines as woodenly as possible.
It would be easy to shrug this off as just a laughable silliness but there is more to it. You can see that these are people having a great time trying to make a Holmes film. (You can see how much fun they had from the extras on the DVD.) The film contains a few highly Holmesian moments: there’s the reading of footprints, which is rather well done and the inferences drawn from a stolen cane feel like something straight out of the Canon. It might be argued that the plot is so far fetched as to destroy it’s Holmesian credentials, but one need only point to the rope climbing, milk drinking, whistle answering snake of The Speckled Band to refute this claim.
These are people who enjoy Sherlock Holmes wanting to create something to share that pleasure. Surely, we can all applaud this. After all, the more Holmesians reach out, the more they create new Holmesians to have fun with.
I end this review with a screen shot of another of my favourite scenes, during which Watson appears to be Holmes’s ventriloquist dummy. I don’t know why they chose to set the shot up in this way, but I am glad they did.