Already knowing how talented Cronenberg is makes reviewing his early films so difficult for some reason. I have a hard time telling if he’s going for a serious tone with these movies unlike watching Peter Jackson’s early films (Bad Taste, Brain Dead). Whatever his intent was with Shivers, I full enjoyed it much more that his next film Rabid.
The films main villain is a goofy parasitic worm that crawls onto and into people using awesome practical animation. It’s stupid looking and remind me of one of my favorite 80’s movie Brain Damage. Basically the parasite in this flick causes everyone to become super horny and murder-y and rape-y.
Towards the end of the film we get this epic climax shot all inside a single apartment complex which quickly gets gruesome and claustrophobic. However, there’s one scene in this segment where a girl is getting attacked by her neighbor who breaks into her apartment and she seems so nonchalant about it as well as after it occurs. Also, during the break in/attempted rape the girls audio is hilariously badly dubbed over making it just an awful (or awesome) stain on the movie.
Barring that scene the movie is pretty strong. It has a ton of awesome body horror and it’s well above what I would consider a b-movie, despite some goofy effects.
I have to roll my eyes at all these “omg disturbing and life changing!” reviews when sorting through old movies by Cronenberg because they’re all so far from that level of depth. There’s some interesting monologues regarding sex and death in Shivers, which I appreciate, but nothing that’s going to distract me from just enjoying it as a sexy bloody popcorn movie.