Thursday, March 11, 2010

Netflix Instant Watch Review: "Shiver"

I put this one in as a lark. The plot sounded interesting and my ghost hunting buddy and I had the day off and wanted to watch something in a dark forest. This 2008 Spanish film has English subtitles but honestly it’s not a problem to read the lines and get the plot without missing one thing. The setting is amazing. I love places that don’t look like slick American films where the sets are polished and beautiful and the people gorgeous and the acting over practiced and self conscious. This movie feels very real and raw and beautiful. There’s plenty of mystery and darkness. It reminded me a lot of exploring the woods as a kid and the adventures you go on, hoping to find something amazing only in this movie—they do.

Here’s the plot “Santi (who played in Devil’s Backbone), is a young high-school student with a serious physical reaction to sunlight, is forced by his health to move with his single mother to a shadowy, isolated village in the mountains of Spain where the inhabitants begin to reveal themselves as strangely xenophobic (afraid of those who are foreign or different). When terrible, violent events begin to occur, Santi becomes first a pariah at school and then strongly suspected by the police of hideous murders. Santi himself, however, wonders if he is not the next victim.” (from site, my favorite movie reference place)

This movie is cinematically gorgeous, emotionally taut, very well acted, written and directed. I don’t know how I ever missed this film before, except admittedly I’m very susceptible to cover art and when the cover art of the DVD looks cheesy, I tend to pass it by. The killer turns out to be quite surprising and a theme I haven’t seen much in movies at all but definitely chilling.

If you liked “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Darkness” or “The Messengers,” you’ll enjoy this. Like I said, I’m adding it to my collection. Certain movies just have a beauty and a pacing and mood/atmosphere that I want to jump right back into the movie over and over again. It's like the telling of a good dark tale. This is definitely a keeper.


  1. I think the movies and investigations done in a dark forest scare me more than an insane asylum, prison or haunted house. It's what is lurking behind those large trees in the eerie darkness, that makes it pretty scary.

  2. Then, you'll love this movie--it really captured that way predators can hide in the forest.

  3. never heard of this, but then there are so many great foreign films that pass me by. As for Pan's Labriynth, that one is available on my cable channel right now, but I didn't think it looked so great...maybe I will have to give it a chance.

    This movie wasn't really horror, though it WAS horrifying in a way - it's asian, possibly korean... "The Spider Forest"