“SHIVER,” from Cyclone Productions and Bandersnatch Films, presents a nail-biting, psychological thriller that pits a blood thirsty serial killer against the skill, wit and determination of the detectives and a single surviving victim.
Directed by Julian Richards, “SHIVER” stars Danielle Harris, Casper Van Dien, John Jarrett, Rae Dawn Chong and Valeria Harper. “SHIVER” was written and produced by Robert D. Weinbach based on the novel by Brian Harper.
“SHIVER,” opens with a glimpse back in time somewhere in the desert a beautiful waitress, in a roadside diner, is asked out to a movie. She graciously refuses without reason and the patron, a nervous, older man, somewhat nerdy, becomes overly agitated at her refusal. He abruptly exits.
As darkness falls on the desert night, the rejected man waits for the waitress to close the restaurant. Heading to her car, she has long forgotten about the proposition and without thinking of the possibility of psychopath she turns as he approaches attempting to defuse the tense situation.
In one moment, the maniac swings the wooden club and stuns the woman. She falls to the ground and he, still enraged over a lifetime of rejection, continues to batter her skull. The screams fell silent on the desert night.
At this point “SHIVER,” fast forwards twelve years to Portland Oregon, where a serial killer, known as the Gryphon is one the loose. Portland Detectives Delgado played by van Dien and Detective Mavis Burdine played by Rae Dawn Chong are at the scene of another gruesome murder.
The Gryphon, masterfully portrayed by Australian actor John Jarrett, has struck again and in true Zodiac style the city is held captive in both fear and fascination.
Women are on edge as the killer has an uncanny ability to enter into the victim’s home, without notice, and of course, mentally tortures them first with the promise of allowing them to live if they do what he asks. His longing for companionship and lust for a trophy drives him to create the permanent link with his victims.
Which is where we meet Wendy Alden played by Danielle Harris, a young twenty-something single, living away from home as her mother, Audrey Alden, played by Valeria Harper, is subsidizing her with the hope that she will eventually receive the promotion and salary jump she deserves. Their conversations are tense accusatory as mother is, as all mothers do, pushing to buttons in order to illicit a response.
Wendy decides to have dinner with her friend, Jeffrey. The two are close, not FWB, although he is someone she trusts and depends on.
Declining his overnight invitation she heads home and listens to the 11:00pm news as the police are no closer to catching the Gryphon residents, especially women, are warned. A small noise stops her from peeling the apple she picked up. Instead of leaving her home immediately she attempts to investigate the noise when the Gryphon jumps out and overpowers her.
Grabbing her he, deftly and with precision, wraps a thin metal cord around her throat. He begins his domination ritual and with the promise she’ll live he asks her to repeat what he says. Just as he begins to tighten the cord, she reaches into her pocket and stabs him in the leg, escaping she runs into the street screaming.
“SHIVER,” then becomes a serial killer’s cat and mouse game as the Gryphon has met his match in a woman who didn’t succumb to fear and actually fought him. In his mind, the others were docile and no matter the struggle, didn’t physically wound him. Alden drew first blood and it infatuated him. He went from random fulfillment to need based lust.
“SHIVER,” is extremely frightening. The story echo’s of gruesome headlines and is truly every woman’s and every community’s fear.
The trophies the Gryphon steals become his ultimate companions. His blasé manner is captured so well by Australian actor John Jarret who gave this horrifying maniac life it is frightening to watch him move about. The film provides a vehicle for the great ensemble cast adding intrigue, colors and layers to the overall shocking material.
The violence and murder scenes are very stressful and are presented differently for each victim without one murder actually committed on screen.
“SHIVER” has heightened suspense, terror, and the ultimate ending every victim desires to exact on his or her perpetrator.
“SHIVER,” is chilling from start to finish and is available on DVD.