Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Caspar Van Dien
Rae Dawn Chong
What's it about
Wendy (Danielle Harris) is a meek, mild secretary who manages to get caught up in the web of a serial killer (John Jarratt) while the bodies pile up around her. A couple of detectives (Casper Van Dien and Rae Dawn Chong) try to help her out.
Is it good movie?
Though it does have its moments, Shiver didn't quite grab me like I'd
hoped. Julian Richards (of The Last Horror Movie fame) brings us this
relatively generic thriller-type flick that although is quite cliched,
manages to stick in a few so-so disturbing moments that kept me
involved enough. It's no Seven, and surely no Lecter movie, but it's
not so bad.
First up, I'd like to give some props to John Jarratt, the dude who
plays Franklin "The Gryphon" Rood- our killer. You may remember him
from Wolf Creek, as he was the charismatic murderer from that one.
Here, he's a violent, unstable character who feels wronged by society
and just can't leave well enough alone. He's one of those awkward
social outcasts who has been rejected by women one too many times and
takes his pain out on them instead.
Speaking of props, big ups to Danielle Harris, who carries a lot of
this film's load on her back as well. She's our victim in peril and
does a fine job of it (with an impressive range, going from someone
who's afraid to ask her boss for a raise to someone who has to face a
murderer). Her Wendy character gets sucked into the Gryphon's trap
early on, and manages to escape. This gets the psycho killer thinking
that he can make her fall in love with him, which cues the involvement
of our detectives, and sets up the rest of the film.
The detectives are not overly impressive and can come off as dumb,
letting Wendy get in all kinds of trouble (and somehow missing a really
blatant disguise attempt). It's cool to see these two character actors
get work, but they don't have a whole lot to do and they fail to really
add much to the flick. Another problem is just spending way too much
time with Jarratt's character- the guy's clearly trying his best and
turns in a good performance but he's overexposed and things can get
downright goofy at times. Plus, he just seems to always be RIGHT behind
Harris' character- moments where if you spend too much time thinking
about them don't add up whatsoever.
To sum up, things here are pretty by-the-books, but our cast is giving
a great effort despite a pretty clunky and lame script. This is pretty
much TV movie-style stuff that won't blow your mind, but may just keep
your attention for its runtime.
Video / Audio
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen,
decent, sharp and colorful. Just fine.
Audio: Dolby 5.1 surround delivers quite
well, nothing overly incredible here, totally serviceable.
I just can't think of a reason why I'd insist anyone seek this out,
though fans of Jarratt and Harris should consider it. Ultimately it's
forgettable, and though it tries to cram in a fair amount of ideas,
they don't quite add up.