Shiver (2008)
Directed by Isidiro Ortiz

Starring Blanca Suarez Francesc Orella Jimmy Barnatan Junio Valverde Mar Sodupe

In a year when we were absolutely spoiled by some amazing European horror movies, including "Rec," "Frontiers", the "Films to Keep You Awake" franchise, "Shiver" stands out as a decent Spanish horror movie. Not great, but better than most of the stuff being produced in America.

With art direction by Pilar Revuelta, who did the same for "Pan's Labyrinth", and starring the once child actor star of "The Devil's Backbone," the film also has some links to the work of Guillermo del Toro.

Valverde plays Santi, a teen suffering from a vampire-like disorder that makes him allergic to sunlight. When the sunlight gets to be just too much for him and his single mom, they opt to move to a mountain village where the sunlight is less intense, renting a house from a town landlord.

Once he and his mother show up, however, a series of killings start -- animals at first, then a local schoolkid. All the victims had their throats ripped out. While he flirts with the the daughter of the town policeman, our hero becomes a focus of the investigation. Initially suspected of the murders, he is cleared when his saliva doesn't match what was found on the bodies. But as the corpses start to pile up, police become suspicious by his coincidental appearances at the crime scenes.

Suspected of murder, he enlists the help of his buddy -- and the police chief's daughter -- to investigate the real killer, who may or may not be a wild girl in the woods -- or perhaps the ghost of a wild girl.

A pretty well crafted mystery/thriller, "Shiver" doesn't deliver the level of horror you'd expect from Europe in this day and age. It isn't as good as the stuff we saw in the "Films to Keep You Awake" series from Spain and doesn't come close to the greatness of French terrors like "Inside" or "Frontiers." In short, it's a mild horror film. Not a bad one, but a mild one all the same.

Worth catching but not worth writing home to mother about.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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