Shepherd finds the right disguise for its familiar horror-movie checklist

The new Scottish horror-drama Shepherd suffers from a classic case of Dead Wife Syndrome, a storytelling ailment where a protagonist’s longing for/guilt over their deceased spouse dictates the plot in a reductive, predictable way. The primary symptom of this common disease is a flashback where the dead wife looks over her shoulder at the camera as sunlight frames her hair, which is tousled in an unselfconsciously sexy way. In Shepherd, that standard-issue flashback comes when the wife is walking on a chilly Scottish beach in a tartan skirt and leather jacket, blissfully unaware of the frigid death that awaits her in the sea beyond.

That isn’t the only box on the DWS checklist that Shepherd
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