There are plenty of films where a director has only started out their career in cinema and don't have a lot to show. The case of Michael Winner is exemplified here, with the only film 'Shivers' out of his three that he directed. 'Shivers' is a low budget horror with very limited resources and in many ways while it does look and play like a television film, it is a fairytale of sorts with the fairytale qualities being the source of much of its scares. But much like the fairytale elements, 'Shivers' is also rather tricky to pin down. It's very difficult to judge and say categorically how effective it is, but the fun of it is that it could be one of the worst horror films of all time and still work, as was the case with 'Rosemary's Baby', which was the directorial debut of Roman Polanski (who would go on to make much more highly regarded horror later). That said, it is difficult to watch 'Shivers' and not like it.'Shivers' is a surprisingly effective and tense low budget British horror film set in an apartment. The focus on the apartment has real eeriness about it as the lack of windows and only one door is not only visually claustrophobic, it also sends one feeling trapped and that's a prospect that gets people to worry and start to have their worst fears realised by the creatures that the apartment's inhabitant discovers. The isolation and lack of windows and doors are a familiar threat to one, from horror films of all types. The special effects are good, in amongst the amateurism of the editing, the make up and the rest of the production values. While the set design is poor, the apartment and the (unseen) monsters are genuinely spooky. The atmosphere here is outstanding, although much of the horror is a product of the film's creativity and ambition, rather than being simply horrific. The claustrophobia is there as is the sense of isolation, which is another staple of Cronenberg. These are all well delivered in 'Shivers' and the film is an interesting and, at times, genuinely disturbing horror film. 7/10'Shivers' was only Winner's first feature and made for British TV at the time, but it did make the grade, as was shown in its UK home video release in 1985.
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