Shiver (2008) Movie Review
Written By: YN
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Isidro Ortiz
Producers: Álvaro Augustín
Writers: Hernán Migoya, Jose Gamo, et. al.
Date Released: February 8, 2008
Junio Valverde as Santi
Mar Sodupe as Julia
Francesc Orella as Dimas
Jimmy Barnatán as Leo
Blanca Suárez as Angela
Paul Berrondo as Óscar
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Santi and his mother move into a small, faraway town under the doctor’s recommendation. Due to Santi’s condition that causes him adverse reactions to sunlight, people in town becomes wary of him. This becomes even worse as unsettling murders start cropping up wherever Santi goes. The blame falls on him and people begin to call him a vampire. Now, it is up to him and his friends to prove that he is innocent, and something more dangerous is out there on a hunt.
While Shiver (2008) does not shy away from graphically violent scenes, it does not pander on it either. There are a couple of scenes that showcase pools of blood, torn out intestines and guts, and bashed in heads, but they do not linger on it much. Often, these scenes are shown fleetingly and almost shrouded with darkness so that you can only see the violence under the beam of a lone flashlight. You can see that this film focuses more on the suspense rather than the gory aspect of their scenes.
The Grave Review
Shiver (2008) is the type of movie that sets up an appealing, tension-filled beginning, with interesting characters, suspenseful atmosphere and a suitable setting, but falls flat as it veers away from what makes it intriguing in the first place. But still, it is an entertaining watch, especially if you’re simply looking for a good scare with an appropriate amount of gore for the night.
The movie toys around the idea of vampirism through its protagonist, Santi, whose affliction makes him look and behave somewhat vampire-like. What makes Shiver (2008) stand out is the fact that you are never really quite sure if he is a vampire or not at the start of the film. The first half of it plays around with this premise by giving Santi nightmares of turning into ashes under the sun, livestock eaten raw the night when the mother-and-son-duo moves into the town, dogs bark at him whenever he is near, and bloody corpses follow him wherever he goes. This theory is soon debunked, however, after one terrifying encounter in the forest, but it also confirms that there is something more dangerous and real in their midst.
The foreboding and suspenseful atmosphere is further highlighted by the setting in the film. Since the house is isolated and surrounded by a forest-like area, the protagonist is often forced to walk down the dark, eerie path. It makes use of the bleakness and dreariness of the place and the camouflage that the forest provides to heighten that sense of unease. The suspense is taken a step further at nighttime scenes when the characters can only rely on the lone beam of light from their flashlights to properly see what is out there before them. They can see the leaves shaking, a blur of motion, but they still can’t see what hides in the shadows, watching them.
Likewise, with its decision to use natural sounds instead of the usual horror sound effects at the background, you are given no warning when something will jump out from the shadows. The slightest rustle of the leaves is magnified by the silent backdrop and can tickle anyone’s paranoia.
The downfall, however, comes when the truth is revealed behind the murderer. Since the first half of the film focuses too much on Santi’s supposed vampirism, it fails to establish a solid backstory behind the real murderer. This results to a second half that introduces new characters whose sole purpose is to give you an entire new mystery to play with and a convenient confession to a crime that has apparently happened in the past, but not once has been mentioned throughout the film. In the end, the first half of the movie seems like a pointless misdirection for the plot twist’s convenience.
Not withstanding the surprising turn of events towards the end, Shiver (2008) still has some noteworthy scenes that will give you that heart-pounding suspense that you’re after.
With these foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Shiver (2008) three graves out of five graves.
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