Shiver Movie Review
Directed by Julian Richards
Written by Robert D. Weinbach, adapted from the novel by Brian Harper
2012, Rated R, 90 minutes
Released on October 8th, 2013
Danielle Harris as Wendy Alden
Casper van Dien as Detective Delgado
John Jarratt as The Gryphon
I hadn't read Brian Harper's novel Shiver when I viewed this film, so unfortunately I had no relationship with the characters before I hit Play. After watching the movie, I read the reviews of the novel available online and understood where Mr. Richards was going with the film, but ultimately it never achieved the greatest of the original story that received stellar praise from its readers on Amazon and GoodReads.
Danielle Harris (the future Mrs. Steve Pattee) plays Wendy Allen, a sour-faced girl with money problems who is too chicken to ask her seemingly sweet and supportive boss for a raise, too spineless to stand up to her shrill harpy mother (Valerie Harper in a tragically one-dimensional role), too polite to turn down a date with a guy she's not overjoyed about but not too polite to refuse to go home with him. I cannot figure out why the serial killer known as the Gryphon is obsessed with her. She's like a slightly older, much shorter Kristen Stewart. Casper van Dien, excuse me, Casper van f*cking Dien, Starship Troopers, mofo!, plays Detective Delgado, the detective assigned to catching the Gryphon while his boss threatens his years of hard work with a sacking.
Shiver is unbearably generic. Wendy's boss is named "Mr. Cashman". Ugh. Delgado's boss wants to retire with a clear record, hence the threats against his excellent employee. Everything is too convenient, too flat, too conventional. Ms. Harris doesn't find much room for humor or love in her dour character and Wendy rapidly grows unlikeable. The last part of the film where she finally opens up to Detective Delgado seems to be a hail-Mary attempt to clumsily staple a happy ending/possible love story to a passionless two hours. Casper (who is looking damn fine, in case you were wondering ), is great despite a relatively small role compared to John Jarratt and Danielle Harris. He is hopeful and determined and still finds occasion to smile. Did I mention he looks great? John Jarratt has a lot of fun with his role, but one gets the sense he's floundering a bit with the violent mood reverses of his character. There's something holding him back from going full Buffalo Bill-batsh*t crazy and it's missed.
Still, it's Casper van Dien so I'll give Shiver three stars. I do want to read the book after all.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.