All Reviews, Hong Kong, Horror, International Films

Shiver

“Shiver” first caught my eye with its slick cover featuring its four lead actors in body bags, one of whom has her eyes open. Then it caught my eye with its impressive cast, one of whom, Francis Ng, is as charismatic an actor as can be found in cinema today (in China or elsewhere). It is unfortunate then, that Shiver’s cover doesn’t relate to the film in any way (even as a metaphor), and that said cast isn’t given much to do until the final third.

“Shiver” details the relationship between soon-to-be-divorced Mok Sum-Yi and Chan Kwok-Ming (Ng), a homicide detective who is married more to his job than to his wife. When a near death experience gives her the ability to see spirits and threatens her sanity, Kwok-Ming is too involved with solving a recent string of murders to notice.

It sounds good but it’s all fairly pedestrian, and the makeup effects are surprisingly ineffective for a film with a relatively high budget and pedigree (several cars are totaled throughout the film).

“Shiver” begins to work its way above mediocrity when the killer, whose love for his wife is sharply contrasted against Kwok-Ming’s barely-there approach, is revealed two-thirds of the way in. Coupled with a number of completely illogical moments though (haven’t these people heard of tourniquets to stop bleeding?), it’s not quite enough to save the film as a whole.

Too visually bright to be creepy, yet too thin to be an effective drama, the closest thing to a shiver here can be found by looking at the cover.

Pros: The four leads are pretty terrific…
Cons: …but the script and clumsy execution is just not worthy of them.
Review Rating: 2.5 out of 5 cars won’t jump perpendicular onto a railing without a ramp, no matter how hard you ram them from behind.

“Shiver” (2003)
Also known as: “Sam hon”, “Xin han”
88 Minutes; Hong Kong
Not Rated, but equivalent to an R for violence and gore.

Starring:
Francis Ng (Chan Kwok-Ming)
Nick Cheung (Ko Chun)
Athena Chu (Mok Sum-Yi)
Tiffany Lee (Zhou Kit-Yu)
Shiu Hung Hui
Ying Kwan Lok
Directed by: Siu Hung Cheung
Viewing Format: Import DVD.

(Originally published on HorrorWatch)

About John Daily

John is a freelance writer, columnist and critic. His work has appeared in print, as well as on sites such as ScifiWatch and HorrorWatch (where he wrote under the complete meaningless moniker “Bloody Taco”). An archive of his film-related material is available at cinemaspin.wordpress.com. Currently, he can be found spouting his special brand of sarcastic nonsense at CigarHell.com or Twitter (JohnNDaily).

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