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  • Gareth Crook

Shivers (1975) - 6/10

It’s the 70s, the boom of modern living. Tower block homes as a utopian choice, rather than housing shortage social decline. On the outskirts of Montreal are Starliner apartments. Fully equipped, restaurants, stores, pool, a doctor, all on an idyllic little island. Lovely right? Nope, for this is David Cronenberg film. A young couple come to get the tour, whilst a man strangles a girl in an upstairs apartment, before cutting both her and himself open. Not friendly behaviour on the face of it. But he knows something we don’t.  It’s typically eerie with sparse sound, quite violent and an arresting start to a film that is instantly off the rails. Nick (Allan Kolman) personifies this. He’s a classic Cronenberg character. Dead eye stare and a cold personality. He’s also got a pain in his stomach. We’re in body horror territory. There’s an infection of sorts and it’s down to people like Dr St. Luc (Paul Hampton) to figure out just what the hell is going on. Something he does quickly enough. Cronenberg dispenses with the mystery. This is all about building the tension to the imminent horror. Even the acting quality is somewhat dismissed as superfluous. Characters are really just fodder for the… Shivers. It’s not brilliant, but that’s almost the point. The tone is nasty and exploitive, with more than one scene that makes little sense at all and remarkably although it’s only 90 minutes, feels it could lose at least half an hour. It does have style though, in a cheap lofi sense and serves as an early signpost for where Cronenberg was headed. Worth a watch for any fan.



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