by Del Harvey
Releasing October 28th on DVD from Dark Sky Films.
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Set in contemporary Spain, our story is about Santi (Junio Valverde), a teenager normal in most respects except for his rather annoying disease - photophobia, which includes a severe aversion to sunlight due to its immediate disfiguring effect on one’s skin. During opening scenes, his mother, Julia (Mar Sodupe) is told by Santi’s doctor that he’s getting worse and she should really consider getting out of the city and finding some place with less sun. He warns that this may be the only thing that will save Santi’s life. After several shots showing Santi’s miserable existence at the local school and establishing his protector and friend, Leo, we see Julia and Santi packing and driving to a small village located in a deep valley, which only sees a few hours of sun each day.
Soon after his arrival, local livestock and even a few of the locals start dying. Unfortunately, Santi is implicated by having been at every scene whenever someone finds a body. However, Santi has “seen” the thing that is killing these people and animals, only he can’t properly describe it because it’s unlike anything he’s ever seen before. If anything, it looks part human and part animal. And to complicate things for him even more, he’s just as terrified of it as the locals are. These small town, small-minded townfolk suspect him immediately, because the victims had their throats torn out and their blood drained from their bodies. It is due to Santi’s aversion to sunlight and overlong canine teeth which leads them to believe it is he who must be responsible for the killings.
Eventually Santi enlists the help of the lead investigator’s cute daughter, Angela (Blanca Suarez), as well as his old friend Leo from his old stomping grounds, Lou (Jimmy Barnatan), and together they set out to find the real cause for the killings and clear Santi’s name.
Directed by Isidro Ortiz and produced by Alvaro Augustin (Pan’s Labrynth, The Orphanage), Shiver is a wonderful little horror thriller recalling some of the greats of the past and definitely one to watch.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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