Dir. Brian Feeney 74 mins
New Horizon DVD
UK Release: 13th May 2013
Psychic powers. An oft-used horror movie staple from such films as ‘The Dead Zone’ to ‘The Gift’. Sadly ‘Shiver’ falls quite short of those, but it isn’t without some good points. We begin with a young lady called Rachel who we detect is on the run as she is being hunted down by a quite intimidating woman (Judy Clement) and her two henchmen. They find her and stab her (in potentially the most laughable stabbing I’ve seen committed to film) and proceed to look around her apartment where they find a newspaper clipping of a child which appears to pique their interest.
The story then moves to April (Alisha Seaton) who we find in bed bartering with her wife, Casey (Jeannie Bolet) over whose turn it is to take their little girl Sarah (who we see is the same girl from the newspaper clipping) to school. Before they can decide, they are visited by two detectives who want to ask April about her relationship with Rachel.
She informs them that Rachel drowned over ten years ago but her body was never found. At this point the detectives tell April that she has actually been alive all this time and show her recent CCTV footage to prove it, along with some video evidence of Rachel’s killer – Anne Cassavettes, who is featured on the FBI’s most wanted list.
April’s day doesn’t really get any more normal from here on in as she is visited in work by an associate of Rachel, Yelena Markova (Liliya Czarina) who asks her if Rachel ever told her about the ‘Echo Project’ ? It transpires she didn’t, but April advises Yelena that she should take any information about Rachel and phone the detectives that visited her that morning. Yelena takes her advice, and leaves a message with the detective before embarking on a quite gratuitous shower sequence that naturally leads to much blood being spilled.
Meanwhile, back at April’s place of work she receives a relatively recent letter from Rachel apologising for faking her death and blaming it on the mysterious ‘Echo Project’. Distressed at the days events, she returns home to discuss the issues with Casey. Who is Anne Cassavettes ? Why will nobody tell her what the ‘Echo Project’ is ? In what way does all of this involve their daughter ?
‘Shiver’ (for some reason re-titled from ‘The Echo Project’) is not without its good points. The premise is intriguing and the few twists contained within develop the story quite well. A deep nod of respect is also due for its same sex marriage portrayal – a facet almost invisible from contemporary cinema, let alone the often misogynistic world of the horror film. On the flip side though, the supporting cast is really poor. The henchmen for example are practically laughable, like they’ve been lifted directly from a Scooby Doo cartoon. The same could be said for their boss who I found to be reminiscent of Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson from Prisoner Cell Block H. This and a few other bad turns cast a shadow on what had the potential to be a recommendable low budget horror movie.
4 out of 10