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SHIVER
DVD. Second Sight.

ShiverI came to Shiver with a degree of anticipation – not because of anything I’d heard, but simply because it looked rather goodfrom the visuals and the synopsis. I thought it might have the same atmosphere of other recent Spanish horror films. And to a degree, it does. But unfortunately, Shiver is rather slow moving - arguably a fault with some of those other Spanish horrors too - and unmemorable.

Julio Valverde plays Santi, a teenager with photophobia, a disease that means his skin with blister under sunlight. Bullied at school, he persuades his mother to move to a small village in the mountains, where sunlight is minimal. But his arrival coincides with a couple of mysterious murders, both of which take place while he is near by. Inevitably, he’s the number one suspect, but with the help of an old friend and the daughter of the local police chief, he sets out to uncover the truth, and finds that the woods are home to a feral child who likes to tear out throats. But in an unlikely and unsatisfying twist, it turns out that the child is not the only person to fear.

Shiver has a decent amount of atmosphere and impressive visuals, but the film as a whole is fairly unsatisfying. Not much happens in the first hour, and when you combine this with a rather unsympathetic lead, it makes the film quite a struggle to get through. Things pick up in the final act, but the plot twist in ludicrous and unnecessary – isn’t a cannibalistic feral child scary enough? And the plot holes are far too obvious and mean that large chunks of the film make no real sense – something that is fine if you don’t immediately notice it, but here it’s all too obvious.

It’s a shame, because the feral kid is a pretty effective monster (or victim, depending on your point of view), but is somewhat underused. Instead, we’re stuck with the trials and tribulations of a rather dull teenager and his annoying friends.

A tighter first half would’ve made this a lot more enjoyable; as it is, you might find some impressive moments of tension and effective horror if you can stay the course to the end – but I suspect many viewers will have given up by that point. A bit of a disappointment.

DAVID FLINT

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