There is a popular misconception in the movie industry that the person who directs a movie has all the control. The movie Shiver proves this is not the case. Director Julian Richards received acclaim for his movie Summer Scars in 2007, the movie was written and directed by Richards. Other movies have a certain Richards feel about them, that the director has had at least a hand in. But Shiver has no Richards’ traits about it at all; in fact it feels like a very different beast.
In Portland, a serial killer nicknamed the Griffin is stalking and killing women, usually cutting open their throat with a garrote, and then taking the heads from the scene of the crime. Wendy (Danielle Harris) lets a moment of last minute temptation put her in line to deal with the Griffin (John Jarrett). But unlike previous victims, Wendy is one step ahead of him, and manages to elude death. To the Griffin this is perfect symmetry, he simply must have her, but not to be a victim, to be his lover.
Shiver is a story based on a book published over twenty years ago, and has been a project in the making ever sense. The problem with such a book, that has taken so long to adapt for the cinema is that things change, people change, technology changes, police processes change; the issue here being from the offset is that Shiver is based in the present day, but with twenty year old traits.
The biggest criticisms that anyone will have with Shiver are striking, firstly the blood used in the movie is CGI, and not good CGI at that, characters move out of sync with the blood effects, so when someone moves the blood stays in the same place, even if it was previously on their chest. Wendy towards the beginning of the movie tells detective Sebastian (Casper Van Dien) that the murder weapon is a garrote, to which he replies, “oh we thought it was a knife” surely they would know? Sticking with the police force, they seem most surprised to find the dead body of a police office killed the previous evening, as if they would not have noticed him missing at this point. The names are fairly old, Wendy and Mavis (Rae Dawn Chong), are not of the last twenty years that much is for sure. Finally the general bobbins that surrounds the entire movie, the killer is like Michael Myers but without the immortal aspects, he survives a number of incidents, unscathed each time, including a rather vicious stab in the leg.
Shiver could be so much, but transpires to be so little, the killer is as threatening as a kitten, and the supporting cast feel like they are putting in little effort. As this serial killer thriller unfolds the ultimate feeling that overcomes you is laughter, and for this reviewer as the movie drew to its final moments, I was doubled over in laughter, not a reaction that is intended. Ultimately it’s a painful, uncomfortable situation, and one that everyone involved in the making of it should feel a little ashamed about.