A group of young adults decides to gather in the abandoned home of Ebon Dread, a man with a very dark reputation. The house itself is rumored to be haunted. Soon, through paranormal means, the house becomes sealed and the would-be partiers find themselves fighting for their lives against the horrors from beyond. "The Shivers" features lots of fairly competent gore effects, protracted scenes of torture, the expected horror film violence, almost universally poor acting, and grating dialogue. The computer animation effects are at best primitive.
Okay, so its easy to trash a micro-budget film and that is not my intent here. Unlike some, I don't watch films of this type in order to pick them apart and gripe about them. Though I wasn't particularly thrilled with this one, I believe that it may be worth the time of die-hard fans of this genre. The cast and crew certainly appear to be having a good time making this and I always find that to be a plus, even when the final result is less than entertaining. An additional plus is that some of the flashback sequences look reasonably good (considering the budget) and are done in black and white. Even better, the VHS tape I saw was in widescreen format.
One gripe must be expressed, however. Extensive dedications were given in the closing credits, paying homage to such names as Fred Olen Ray, Lucio Fulci, and H. G. Lewis, all prominent names in the gore genre. However, the centerpiece of the horror of this film appears to be Cthulhu and the related extradimensional horrors that were the creation of American writer H. P. Lovecraft. As far as I could tell, no dedication or credit was provided to him despite the blatant use of and reference to his creations.
If I had to point to one basic flaw with this film as a whole, it is that the filmmakers were too ambitious. They invested a lot of time and effort (and probably funds) in unconvincing computerized special effects that were more a distraction than anything else. The storyline itself is rather sweeping and should (IMHO) have been more concise and streamlined.
Finally, a word of warning. I don't know if this is the case with all VHS copies of "The Shivers," but the tape I rented was definitely flawed. Near the end, a section lasting perhaps ten to fifteen minutes was unexpectedly repeated. I don't think this was the intent of the filmmakers and is presumably due to an error in editing or a major flaw in the master that was used to manufacture the tape.
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