16th Oct2011

‘Shiver’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Junio Valverde, Francesc Orella, Mar Sodupe, Jimmy Barnatán | Written by Hernán Migoya, Alejandro Hernández | Directed by Isidro Ortiz

Moving to an isolated village to try and get away from the sun would probably be a hard thing for a teenage boy, but when people start dying around you and the villagers look to you as the culprit just not going to be a good day. The truth of the murders of course has nothing to do with you but it’s easy to blame the outsider right?

Santi is a boy with issues; the main one is that sunlight is deadly to him. The more he is exposed to it the more danger is in as it will ultimately lead to problems such as being extremely burnt and ultimately cancer. His mother is advised to move the boy to an isolated village where there is more shade and the sunlight will be less of an issue for him. Moving there it is not long before people start getting killed around the boy and he is viewed as the culprit by the xenophobic locals. Santi though knows the truth as he sees what appears to be a creature moving around the woods and hunting down victims. As Santi starts to investigate himself though to find out just who is behind the killings, he unravels a story of the creature and the truth behind what is going on in the little village and just what was done to create the animalistic killer that lurks in the woods around his home.

As with many Spanish horror movies in this style this is a movie that keeps you guessing. You don’t see the actual creature until the second half of the movie, mostly you get glances while it moves through the bushes or jumps up the trees to escape being caught. It’s only when Santi investigates and works out the truth that we are introduced to the actual history of the thing in the woods and the connection between Santi’s own bedroom and the predator which seems to have a connection to him. As a fan of the Spanish style I was totally engrossed in Shiver as the story slowly unfolds and leaves itself open for you to interpret exactly what is going on, until the end of course when the events are explained and as the viewer we are allowed to see what the creature actually is. The end is quite fulfilling and surprising, being more intelligent than most Hollywood horror movies where it’s more a rush to throw cheap scares at you instead of slowly building up a story leading up to the big reveal.

In ways Shiver could be a movie that’s not for everybody. Some would say they don’t want to read subtitles, or it’s too much of a slow burner, it’s not the Hollywood style. My view though is that if you like a more intelligent horror where you can enjoy a strong story that keeps you thinking and has no plot holes this will be a movie for you; it relies on old school style scares where it’s what you don’t see that scares you and when you do see it the truth can be even more horrifying, for reasons you never really expected. Arguably you may see the sign of what is revealed but the actual outcome is satisfyingly original and not your average generic twist.

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