Saturday, September 25, 2010
Shiver -- AKA Eskalofrio (2008)
Shiver is a Spanish film, produced by some of the folks that had a hand in Pan's Labyrinth. And it shows. Some really jaw dropping cinematography is captured, courtesy of a dark and gloomy Spanish countryside. It also serves to heighten the fear and tension as our story unfolds. A unique story overall to be sure, but there's just something about the handling of the end that leaves a little less to be desired.
The film begins with a young boy who has a sunlight sensitive skin disease. The doctor tells his mother that its only a matter of time before the disease gets worse, to the point where he won't be able to be in any amount of sunlight whatsoever. Along with a growing larger by the day set of canines (which hints as to what the boy may be becoming), the doctor recommends that the family relocates to the Spanish countryside where the days are shorter and the sky remains darker awhile longer. At first the mother is reluctant, afterall, she has a steady editors job and is unsure whether similar type of work can be found in such a tiny town. But with the prospect of losing her son superceding things, they pack up their belongings and head out.
Almost from the get-go, weird goings on take place in and around their new home: a farmers livestock comes under attack; our light sensitive boy has nightmares of a naked young girl, covered in mud and eliciting animal-like growls and displaying her own set of jagged teeth. At the start of his new school year, the boy quickly makes friends. He attempts to win their acceptance by going into the woods, the scene of the animal killings and the disappearance of a few other townsfolk. One of the kids falls victim to the terror lying within and because he's at the scene, immediately he becomes prime suspect numero uno.
Despite his innocence, he wins the affection of a girl who's father just happens to be the local sheriff. Another night out leads him straight into the path of the angry farmer who also falls victim to the same terror within the forest. And again, the boy becomes guilty by association. But his friends, the girl especially, don't believe him to be the perpetrator. We find, instead, that his dreams are actually reality and there really is an animal-like girl who's responsible for the brutal killings.
As the film nears its end, we come to find out how this girl came to be: a family on excursion in Africa comes across a feral girl. A girl literally raised in the wild. They bring her back to the Spanish countryside and try to raise her normally. But a traumatic event involving the brutal massace of her family at the hands of a violent villager sets her off and she immediately goes into survival, animal instinct mode.
In addition, our skin deteriorating boy and feral girl come face to face and with a Frankstein-like monster mob of villagers on their tail, a sort of touching moment occurs as the girl kind of takes to the boy. It sort of insinuates that she knows what he is and that there is a kinship between them both. The film ends rather abruptly as the kids fend off the attack and the sheriff stops the mob from killing them both. The girl is thrown into an asylum and we (as the closing music kicks in) assume that she gets out heading back into the dark forest.
Overall, a solid film with a lot of interesting ideas going on. But by film's end, you are kind of left scratching your head with regards to the resolution. Not bad, not great, just kind of 'meh'. The brutal killing scenes and gore is probably worth the price of admission alone for you gore hounds out there.
Cortez the Killer