The EIFF write up for Shiver had sounded really interesting, and that's the problem with festival blurbs for films, they're all going to have to be good. I mean you can't have a blurb saying that a film is going to be rubbish for all the press people to read can you? Then no one would go see it and there would be no point in showing it.
So the blurb for Shiver sounded good. One parent family move to a small town and the local animals start getting murdered by some strange beast, the boy knows who and what it is, but people suspect him.
Does sound good doesn't it? But then add in a few plot threads that have no bearing on the story, a recognisable comic character, some really comic moments, tons of stock horror cliches and borrows from other films, and you have the very disappointing Shiver.
The first thing I noticed about the film was the interesting opening scene and ideas. The boy is suffering from some form of skin condition that means he can't stay out in the sun, and to add to that he has two growing teeth that make him seem vampiric.
Got that? Now you've had those moments forget it completely because you'll never need that again throughout the whole film. Apart from one moment when he has to run through a sunny field to some shade and how he wears shades a few times, it has no bearing on the story whatsoever.
It does make you wonder why on earth they introduced this thread in the first place, it seemed an interesting idea, showing a real life view of someone suffering from a disease that may make them like a vampire or something along those lines, and yet the trouble they go to in creating that opening scene just gets lost amongst the rest of the film.
Saying that though the opening scene was nicely shot, it had a few moments of promise, and to be fair there are a few well shot moments throughout the film. At the same time though it does have some pretty poor and stock scenes, particularly when we go through the whole Blair Witch Project moments. It's been done, and it's been done much better than this.
Another part of the film that seemed totally superfluous was the main character's friend. He does appear early on in the film but as soon as the mother and son leave for the village in the valley he's left behind, only to reappear when his friend is at his most needy. Then the character seems to serve no purpose other than to get lost in the woods for a bit, and provide for some comic moments, comic moments that totally eluded me. Well that's not true, he did look like Herbert Quentin Viola from Moonlighting, but that was as funny as he got.
Quite frankly his female friend in the story seems pretty wasted as well, and you could argue that many of the characters around him are, even his own.
The main character seems to go through the film panting and moving his eyebrows furiously to demonstrate any form of emotion, it's all rather distracting.
As I said earlier, there are some nicely filmed moments, but the negatives outweigh this. It's hugely clichéd, especially in the horror genre of the film. The “let's go in there and investigate alone” moments, or the “let me go off into the dark woods at night without a torch” type moments.
It's not only in the horror aspect of the film either, it's throughout all the genre aspects of the film. That seems to be another problem with the film, it's trying to be too many genres in one. There's horror, comedy and kids all vying for attention, and they aren't woven together well here.
There's a moment during one of the reveal/realisation sequences that just feels like a Scooby Doo moment, it's so out of place and unintentionally funny and it really detracts from what the scene is trying to convey.
Throughout the film there are plenty of clues and pointers that are often just left hanging and never explained or explored, and this applies to the story twist as well, a twist that is all too clichéd as well.
The creature itself is revealed far too early and never made out to be scary or frightening, and this really harms the latter part of the film.
Add to that some poor editing that seems to chop up the story and the flow, the music that seems overdone way too early and you have a pretty poor film.
Search for Shiver (Eskalofrío) on Filmstalker stores
UK IMDB Film Details
Filmstalker's Edinburgh International Film Festival 2008 page