Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scarefest 2012 - Shiver

Today's Movie:  Shiver (Eskalofrío) - 2008.  Watched on Netflix streaming (Spanish with subtitles although horror has no language barrier)

Starring:  Nobody I've ever heard of or will ever see again.  Although there is a hot chick girlfriend.

Plot:  A teen allergic to the sun (there is a technical term for it, but I don't remember what it is) and his mother move to a small village in order to keep him out of the sun for longer periods of time.  Coincidentally (and conveniently) people start seeing a creature in the woods who steals soccer balls, throwing rocks at kids and...something else...oh yeah...murdering people and drinking their freshly spilled blood.  Everyone, including the lead detective, suspects the new kid who can't be in the sun and has extra large canine teeth. 

Gore Factor:  Medium to high depending on your sensibilities.  One squeamish part with an Achilles being severed (ala Pet Sematary) and some bloody victims.

Nude Factor:  None which was odd as I thought all foreign women enjoyed showing themselves off.

Scare Factor:  Not bad.  There are a few truly terrifying moments, the most notable being when the son is home alone and wakes to find the creature in the same room with him.  Great directing here as we are shown only glimpses of a shadow or from the reflection of a knife.  That the kid does a great job acting scared adds to the tension.  Also, the scene near the end of the movie that takes place in the woods was intense.

Review:  Warning a major spoiler here.  I'm giving away the main plot point so don't read any further if you want to watch this yourself.

Still here?  Alrighty then.

What starts as a decent horror/monster movie turns inexplicable when it's revealed the 'creature' is really a nine year old girl that was raised by wild animals when she got lost in the jungles of Africa.  No, sadly, I'm not even kidding.

This revelation makes her abilities somewhat mysterious as the creature (before the reveal) in the woods has super human reflexes, can kill a grown man with a swift movement, and moves through the trees like a nuclear monkey.  Why she is killing people and drinking their blood is equally confusing as it would sure be easier to simply rummage through a kitchen to get fresh food.  She's constantly breaking into certain homes for reasons that go unexplained and only seem to exist to provide some scenes of terror (well done scenes, but in hindsight they aren't that frightening and makes the hero seem a bit of a pussy).

Stranger still is the explanation for how she arrived in these particular set of woods which involves the murder of her parents and subsequent cover up by the man, the man's gentle father AND his mother.  Really?  They all kept quiet about this?  Even when they begged him not to kill the little girl?

Even more frustrating is how the teen boy and his friends figure out what's going on in order to prove to the detective that he really is innocent only to find out that everyone in the entire town knows all about the little girl.  But she left for Germany years ago so it couldn't possibly be her.  Right, there are two crazed little girls roaming around.  Good reasoning there.

Bottom Line:  Extremely competent directing, acting and legitimate scares, but the steam goes out of this movie as soon at the explanations start coming.  If they had just kept this a standard monster movie, it would have been so much better.

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