While undeniably owing inspiration to Fight Club, Shadow Hours has a sufficient degree of originality of its own. Its story is more a drama about Christian temptation, one where Peter Weller is cast as a fascinatingly ambiguous Satan. The film never deigns to explain exactly who Weller is what we are told about the character we later learn is a lie and we are given nothing else about him in its place. His speeches are tricked out with a number of allusions to Dantes Inferno and The Book of Job. Towards the end, the film even starts to suggest that the character may have supernatural powers and/or might quite literally be Satan. The Devil as always gets all the best lines and Weller has several mesmerising monologues in which he jabs barbs up into religion and the millennial society. It is the meatiest role Weller has had in years and he quite relishes the part.
On the minus side, the films descent into the dark side takes a fairly cliched path. The film disappointingly reiterates the view that home and family are the most desirable and sacred things in life. To the corollary, alcohol, sex, drugs, fetishism and games in which human lives are regarded as disposable are all lumped under a single umbrella of dark vice where the film reaches an end where it is considered that one is better off free from all of them. American cinema constantly reiterates this puritanical polarisation and rarely ever considers that there is such a thing as being able to use some of these vices in moderation and without allowing them to control or destroy ones life. The film also tends to be a little on the banal side when it comes to depicting these vices, although there are a couple of good scenes near the end where we visit a body-piercing club and engage in a game of Russian Roulette.
Balthazar Getty gives a good performance. Getty (who is the grandson of billionaire John Paul Getty) is a promising rising star he even produces the film. He has both good looks (he is like a young Charlie Sheen) and acting ability to boot. Rebecca Gayheart, another promising rising star, is merely cast as the concerned virtuous wife. There are fine supporting performances from Peter Greene and especially from Brad Dourif.
(Nominee Best Supporting Actor (Peter Weller) at this sites Best of 2000 Awards).