Shivers is David Cronenberg’s first full feature film and it’s quite a doozy. The opening credits begin with an eerily calm TV commercial for a suburban high rise complex. Once the credits are finished rolling we are greeted with a brutal murder/suicide. The audience knows from the very beginning to expect anything!
Cronenberg [Videodrome, The Brood] wrote and directed this creepy tale about a scientist who ends up infecting residents of the high rise with a parasite that begins spreading like wildfire. Those infected become sex-crazed fiends who attack the nearest warm body. [John Waters would approve!] Cronenberg jumps back and forth between scenes of ordinary life and moments of sheer terror. It’s quite a roller coaster ride and is quite effective, leaving the viewer on the edge of their seat for the duration of the film.
Kudos to special effects creator Joe Blasco [The Addams Family] for bringing the parasites to life. He does so in a way that is convincing, effective and squirm-worthy.
The acting is solid but no one performance stand out as great. This is because the parasites are the star of this demented horror show! There is, however, a wonderful cameo role for Italian scream queen Barbara Steele. Her infection scene is a delightfully horrifying moment in the film.
Not much more needs to be said. Cronenberg is not everyone’s cup of tea but no one can deny he is a unique and visionary filmmaker.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.