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Simon Read [Film Festival 06.25.08] movie review horror

Year: 2007
Release date: Unknown
Director: Isidro Ortiz
Writer: Isidro Ortiz & Hernán Migoya & José Gamo & Alejandro Hernández
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 6.9 out of 10

Shiver (Eskalofrio) is a Spanish horror film that follows a teenage boy called Santi who suffers from severe photosensitivity. Unable to spend even a few moments in direct sunlight his life is one of perpetual darkness and it has certainly had an effect on his outward personality. Shy, introverted and bullied at school, he affects a cooler-than-thou demeanor, skulking around the school yard in shades and hood and keeping to himself. When his condition worsens with welts appearing on his skin and a sudden growth in his incisors his mother decides its time for change. The two move to a remote village surrounded by high mountains that shield it from the sun, reasoning that Santi will experience a relatively more normal and balanced life there. As soon as they arrive however, things get sinister with mutilated farm animals appearing and spooky goings on in the forest. Santi, being the newcomer, is suspected and begins to feel the burden of persecution, only to be the one to attempt solving the mystery and try to unravel a network of deceit. With his socially inept but tough talking friend and the local police inspector’s attractive daughter in tow, he sets off into the forest to confront the darkness.

The opening scene of Shiver really sets the bar for the rest of the film. A boy is running through a deserted city, the camera pans out to reveal what he is running from, it’s the approaching sunlight of dawn. As he desperately tries to outrun the light and chase shadows the sun catches up with him and he simply bursts into flames, screaming in agony. That really made me sit-up. The idea of a protagonist in a horror film having to run from light into darkness for safety is pretty nifty and well employed in Shiver, a film that is extremely intense, taught and outright terrifying in parts but is also darkly comic with a deliberate knack for confounding expectations. It’s quite a rare thing to be genuinely unsettled by a horror film these days, but the ‘monster’ such as it is in Shiver, is well employed being slowly introduced until a particular scene around the hour mark when we’re treated to some serious chills, made all the better by an unexpected revelation. There are also nods to films like Blair Witch (they bring along a camcorder), Ringu and Donnie Darko.

Shiver is a pretty well put together horror film. The direction is tight with some great shots of rural Spain and the scenes in the forest are executed effectively. There is also a very strong central performance from Junio Valverde (who also played a boy called Santi in Guillermo del Toro’s El Espinazo del Diablo). The dialogue is snappy and the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, for instance during a trip to the woods when things don’t go to plan the teens come across a local and tell him they need to find help, his response? “S*** kid, out here I am the help.” While nothing amazing, Shiver does generate plenty of scares and a few smiles with it's creepy atmosphere, black humour and strong performances.

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Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

A very special movie .I love it.

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