If you’re tired of all the formulaic horror movies coming from Hollywood, it’s time you try something different. Eskalofrio or Shiver is a refreshing Spanish horror movie with a creepy atmosphere and a lot of mystery. The producer is none other than Álvaro Augustin, the man behind such classics as The Orphanage and El Laberinto del Fauno. So, don’t think this is some low-budget production with a shaky camera. Shiver rivals any other modern horror movie when it comes to visuals. It also features an authentic story, something that’s quite rare in this somewhat stale genre. I’m sure this is all a phase and that things will change soon.
So, we have one loner teenager, one creepy-ass setting, and a whole lot of mystery here. Shiver opens like a classic vampire movie but it then turns into something much different. I won’t say anything else because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Now, you should know it also uses a lot of cliches, especially when it comes to characters. They’re not one-dimensional but their roles are very constrained and ambiguous. This also means that you should lower your expectations. Just to be on the safe side and because the final third of the movie is a bit wobbly.
Still, the visual and that alluring atmosphere should keep you going until the end. The acting was also pretty good and I really liked young Junio Valverde who played Santi. Director Isidro Ortiz said that he wanted to make a different kind of a monster movie, a back-to-front tale. And while this concept sounds intriguing, the execution was a bit messy. Right before the trailer you will find a snippet from the interview with Ortiz that should clear up a few things. It will also enhance your understanding of this movie but more about that later.
Santi is a young, troubled teenager with a skin disease that prevents him from being in open sunlight. This plagues his social and life in general. His mother takes him to the village in hopes of a fresh start, but he will get something else here. There is something in the woods, something that looks like a small Gollum, something wicked. And in case you are wondering if that thing in the woods real, it is.
The thing I was talking about was that Shiver or Eskalofrio is actually a sort of an early version of elevated horror. It explores different themes through very familiar concepts. For example, it features a lot of classic horror sounds. You know the ones I’m talking about, squeaky floors, growls and other creepy stuff. It also borrows a few elements from the found footage genre. So, if you’re looking to spice up your movie night it’s a really good choice.
Additionally, it might just show you how good Spanish horror can be. And it can be really good. REC and Sleep Tight are perfect examples. Finally, I just want to mention The Woman as a perfect movie to watch after this one. You’ll know why.
Director: Isidro Ortiz
Writers: Hernán Migoya, Alejandro Hernández, David Muñoz
Cast: Junio Valverde, Blanca Suárez, Jimmy Barnatán, Mar Sodupe, Francesc Orella
Fun Stuff: In an interview Director Isidro Ortiz explains his vision:
I wanted to build a monster thriller where the monsters are the heroes, and where you must flee from the light to take refuge in the darkness. I wanted the film to have two kinds of monsters, those which are such because they’re ‘different’ and cannot adapt to what society defines as ‘normal’, and those which are real monsters and hide their dark side while they look like a model of social behavior.
Isidro Ortiz about the movie Eskalofrio AKA Shiver