Sunday, March 22, 2009

Movie Review: Shiver (2008)

SHIVER - 2008 Thriller from Spain

Written by Hernán Migoya, José Gamo, Alejandro Hernández, and Isidro Ortiz
Directed by Isidro Ortiz

Junio Valverde...Santi
Mar Sodupe...Julia
Jimmy Barnatán...Leo
Berta Ros...Erika

Santi suffers from both photophobia (the fear of light) and serious xeroderma (chronically dry skin that may cause scaling, cracking and peeling). Coupled together, it's no wonder that he lives a life consumed by darkness and suffers from horrendous nightmares of being caught in the sun and bursting into flames.

After a lifetime of being teased and tortured by his peers, being called Vampire and getting roughed up for his eccentricities, he finally convinces his mother to move them to a new country town--a canyon town where the days are shorter and the sun rarely penetrates.

Despite the warnings from the locals, Santi and a few of his new acquaintances venture into the forest. When one of them is killed by something unseen, and Santi emerges a blood-soaked mess, suspicions are quickly heaped upon him. And who can blame the townsfolk? Every time someone goes into the woods with Santi, he comes out alive and they stay inside, dead.

Something deadly is hiding in the woods, all right...but it isn't Santi. We're left wondering the same thing that Santi himself is: what is the bigger threat here? The sunlight, or the creature that lurks in the darkness?

This film was beautifully shot, and terribly creepy almost throughout. There were moments that reminded me of everything from The Ring to Stir of Echoes and even Blair Witch Project, which is fairly strange, as this isn't a supernatural film. It seems to have been promoted here in the States as a horror film, but that's not quite accurate, although it does have some of the qualities of that genre, and until about the halfway point you may think you're watching a horror film. It's more of a thriller, but a damn good one, and gorgeous at that. There was one point where Santi was exposed to bright light, and there was a degradation of the film stock. Very subtle, but a stroke of pure genius.

Recommended for fans of Spain's subtle stabs at surrealism and horror.

91 Minutes
Spanish (with English subtitles)

Yo soy frio, muchacho!

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