“From the producers of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage comes Shiver, a surprisingly effective 2008 shocker from Spain. Santi (Junio Valverde) is a teenager who suffers from photophobia, a severe aversion to sunlight that disfigures the skin. He and his mother (Mar Sodupe) shun the big city in favour of darker climates, heading to the hills in order to save him.
They move to a remote village in the mountains, where their arrival causes suspicion when animals and people are found brutally murdered. As you might expect, suspicion falls on them immediately. But in the darkness of the forest something is hiding, and its not just their secrets that won’t stay hidden, there’s something else lurking in the shadows and it’s coming for Santi.
Despite an over familiar set up and a convoluted finale, Isidro Ortiz has delivered a taught and terrifying thriller that’s sure to get under your skin. Any suggestion of vampirism is left unexplored for the most part, especially when the true nature of the beast finally comes to light, but any such neglect can’t be levelled at the creepy second act that brings with it bloodshed, brutality and bite.
Ortiz cranks up the tension with considerable ease, presenting a series of shocks that are sure to test the nerves. The script twists and turns in the final act, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and the big reveal will be obvious to anyone with knowledge of the genre. The boys illness has little baring on the outcome of the movie, which seems like a missed opportunity when all’s said and done, but Shiver walks a leaner, meaner path that goes for the jugular.
Sharing similarities with The Ordeal, The Woman and even Twilight, Shiver is a surprising little Spanish shocker that’s sure to get under your skin. It’s not quite up there with Pan’s Labyrinth and The Orphanage, very few films are, but for solid thrills and spills you could do far worse.” AW