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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shiver (2008) - Horror

Shiver (2008) - Eskalofrío in Spain, is a strange film that misleads you into scares but is ultimately not what it seems. The film starts with a misleading scene, a teen boy Santi is running to stay ahead of the rising sun. He is in the shadows of the trees with his house just a hundred yards away but there is no shade to stay in from here. He runs out hood up towards the house. He struggles more and more as he gets closer only to burst into flames as he nears the door and safety. He wakes with a start from the dream. So I am thinking looks like a vampire flick. His Mom, Julia is waking him at sunset and he goes off to night school. Yep alternate universe with a vampire protagonist.
Some things are standard though, he like main characters who happen to be in their teen years is an outcast. He is picked on by the larger boys at school, they meanly put his light sensitive face on the copy machine. He has a friend, Leo who stands up for him. After such an episode he and his friend are playing a video game shooting monsters and he reaffirms my belief about the world he lives in by saying 'When I kill monsters I forget that I am one myself.' Not a bad start but then the film does not leave you out there dangling. It quickly pulls you back in another direction. He is not a vampire as we learn with a visit to the doctors but has a skin condition. Extra sensitive to light he needs to avoid direct contact or risks cancer. Mom is apparently finally going to listen to the doctor and move north where the days are shorter and the mountains will further reduce the sunlight Santi has to be exposed to.
A new start for an outcast in his current situation, things are looking up for our young man. They rent a house in a steeply mountainous area, but the music lets us know this is not the happier place the Mom and Son are looking for. The landlord is friendly enough showing interest in Julia. Since she has moved away from her slot machine addicted husband why not a really new start. Of course that music is saying something very different. In their first night in the house, we shift to what turns out to be a neighbors house and he gets up after hearing his nervous sheep. He goes out in a creepy scene to find a ewe slaughter and partly devoured. He sees something off in the distance he can not make out, Wolf? Santi? who knows right now is just the set up anyway. Later we learn this was the third sheep to go down this way. He yells at the locals like they are all supposed to jump up and run out looking for a wolf. Can't be Santi since he was not there for the other two kills.
Santi makes a friend at school, his love interest Angela. She is the daughter of the local police inspector. He also meet Tito a younger boy on the way home from school. The pacing on this part of the film really picks up and I have to say it does well for the story. Tito sees the creature but not well enough to identify it. Santi hears something on his roof in the night and is frightened, and an ominous warning from Dimas' father saying to Julia that this is not a place for her all combine to make a mood of apprehension.
Still good as far as plot. We have the boys at school talking about hunting for the creature Tito saw and Santi goes along. When things go horribly wrong and on of the kids dies at the hands on the little demon looking thing Santi ends up falling on the body. Scared he stumbles onto the road where he is seen by a car, blood covered and frazzled. This is a very well done set up. The new kid who appears outwardly different from everyone is found with the victims blood all over him. hmm I wonder if he will become the topic of rumors? Inspector Cifuetos certainly wants to talk to him.
So there you have the basic plot, there is a creature, a kid to blame for bad things happening and a police inspector trying to get down to the bottom of it. Like I said earlier this movie is not quite what it seems though. Even the stuff we are guessing and are lead towards shifts into something different and unexpected. Like many movie from Spain after the reveal of what is going on we get some sort of exposition scenes showing how the surprise was possible. In the case of this film there is indeed a feral child creature loose in the area. Santi even finds a picture of her in his house. She indeed once lived in the house he and his Mother rent. The trick to the film is how she ended up prowling the woods and eating sheep. I will not spoil it here because I want all of you to get a copy of this film and see for yourselves. There are an ample supply of tense moments and the turn is well done. Now this film could be taken as rediculous by some and the abilities of the feral child are a bit to well developed. It is strange but that is what this movie is all about so enjoy.
Rating (6.8) 5.0 and up are recommended

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