Sunday, August 23, 2020


Movie Name: Shivers
Year of Release: 1975
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik, Barry Baldaro, Camil Ducharme, Hanna Poznanska, Wally Martin, Vlasta Vrana
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 

Synopsis and Review:
Following a career directing a series of TV Shorts, acclaimed director David Cronenberg made his feature film directorial debut with "Shivers". The film, which was produced by another Canadian team member who'd become a famous director of his own, Ivan Reitman, revolves around a series of events which unfold in a luxury and brand new apartment complex, outside of Montreal. These events are precipitated by the medical testing of a parasite on a young student, which turns out, has unpredictable outcomes. This particular parasite, has an aphrodisiac quality to it, prompting the young student to engage in sexual activity with multiple people in the apartment complex, spreading it further. When the doctor who started the studies, tries to stop what has happened, he does not realize the virus has already spread to multiple individuals in the building. As the parasite keeps spreading, the doctor who works on the premises, suddenly starts witnessing all sorts of odd occurrences being reported. He and the nurse on the job try to solve the problem, but the spread of the virus is already far beyond their control.
Following studies in sciences, and also in Literature, David Cronenberg became interested in film, and following his college studies, produced and directed a series of well received shorts. "Shivers" was his first feature, the one that would introduce him to a vaster audience, and that would precipitate his name's inclusion in the body horror genre. The film smartly utilizes a closed off ecosystem, the apartment complex, to create a sense of claustrophobia for all its inhabitants, particularly as the parasite disseminates itself further and further. The film has also been considered an allegory to AIDS, since the parasite itself is passed from individual to individual through sexual acts. Even if that interpretation is a possible one that can be taken away from the feature, this film is ultimately successful in its depiction of an experiment gone awry, of how the human body responds to alien entities and how quickly situations can deteriorate. The characters themselves are quite underdeveloped, and some of the actors chosen, are not as effective in portraying their characters convincingly, but the universe the director manages to build, is ominous, menacing, futuristic and ultimately clouded in some darkness. It's a great first step for a director who would go on to make some truly fascinating films during these last decades. Worth watching.