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The Shivers   C-

Extreme Entertainment

Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Todd Sheets
Writer: Todd Sheets
Cast: Rico Love, Nick Stodden, Jenni Geigel, Ruth Adams, Antwoine Steele, Abe Dyer, Jolene Durill, Pat Stodden.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Todd Sheets is one of the most prolific directors working in the underground shot-on-video horror scene today. Since his first real breakthrough in 1993 with Zombie Bloodbath, he's churned out titles like Bloodthirsty Cannibal Demons, Moonchild, Dead Things, Vampire Holocaust, Violent New Breed, and of course Zombie Bloodbath's two gut-spilling sequels. His films aim to satisfy gore-hungry horror fans, and so far I've yet to see a Sheets film that wouldn't quench any bloodhound's cravings.

I've only seen Zombie Bloodbath 2, Dead Things, and Violent New Breed, but they've all been fun, entertaining rides. Sheets has a knack for cool camera angles, twisted situations, interesting characters, and, of course, loads of extreme carnage. He's got some actual talent, unlike a few of his peers in the field of underground horror.

I was eager to see how his 1999 release The Shivers would turn out. Todd Sheets helming his first big haunted house flick -- this is gonna be good, isn't it? Well...not quite.

In the film, some teenagers decide to have a party in the old Dread Mansion, a place with a history of violent deaths (with a name like Dread what did you expect?). But, of course, forces of evil are unleashed and gruesome mayhem ensues. Sheets' trademark violence and gore are in full effect, but this one's lacking that spark that makes his other films special. The Shivers is bogged down with tiresome clichés (there are plenty of closeups of banging doors and trembling hands on doorknobs) and the characters never come to life. But of course there are some grotesque scenes here that recall the best of H.G. Lewis and Lucio Fulci (whom the movie is dedicated to).

What The Shivers lacks in freshness through most of its first half, it almost makes up for in ambition near the end. The characters travel between dimensions unlocking ghastly secrets, facing off against demons and evil spirits, and eventually come to a final confrontation with Ebon Dread himself. But even ambition can't save this one from its clichéd origins and long stretches of dull.

I'd recommend his extremely entertaining Violent New Breed (1997) over this one any day.

Review published 02.25.2000.

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