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Release Date: 09/21/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Comedy. Horror.

Studio: Cineverse.

"Two young women find themselves at an abandoned camp in the woods with a book of magical spells surrounded by classic monsters in this comedic send up of '80s horror films." 


Shaky Shivers is a film that cannot justify its existence because it barely has a story to tell. I was intrigued by the synopsis I read: a send-up of classic movie monsters marketed as a horror-comedy hybrid. But the monsters we get are briefly seen. The biggest horror in this creature feature is the assault on the senses.


The movie has a flimsy concept and zero plot. It could have been different. It could have been a fascinating experience; plenty of opportunities are squandered, with the characters spinning their wheels and not going anywhere. I yearned for something to appreciate about Shaky Shivers, but only expressions of joy arrived when the movie ended.


Two ice cream store clerks, Karen (Vyvy Nygyuen) and Lucy (Brooke Markham) are a moody, unlikeable duo. They pass the time fighting with customers, placating their boss Bob (Herschel Sparber), and whining about the past. The film opens with the pair pulling to a cabin but not going inside. They sit in their car and prepare for some gruesome fate as we learn that Lucy is cursed to become a werewolf. The film eventually jumps back in time to show us the unfortunate scene; more on that later. 


The opening sequence lasts 10 minutes and is full of props and exposition, yet not an ounce of intrigue or dread. Eventually, Lucy transforms into a werewolf – although we do not see any of that – and Karen screams. Cut to black. 


A day earlier, a homeless woman dressed like a witch from a Michaels craft store and holding a hastily made puppet curses Lucy in the ice cream shop to become a werewolf. Why? I have no idea. The woman's puppet "bites" Lucy on the arm. So naturally, Lucy thinks she's going to become a werewolf. Conveniently, the woman decided to visit the ice cream store during this particular phase of the moon cycle. Remember, no full moons, no werewolves.


Now we're caught up to the present. Lucy wakes up the morning after she and Karen parked at the cabin. The film never time jumps again, although there are flashbacks introduced later. I'd like to know if the filmmakers thought the car scene between the two leads would be a strong opening. It's not. It doesn't matter. From the beginning, the film never gets better or worse. Zombies, a witch, a hooded cult, Bigfoot, and half a werewolf come and go in Shaky Shivers; you might miss them if you blink extra long. 


The film was directed by Sung Kang, known famously for his role as Han Lue in the Fast and the Furious franchise. He even makes an inexplicable cameo at the end of this film. I didn't learn anything from his cameo or get any satisfaction from his movie. The resolution Shaky Shivers offers is to be good to others. Karen's experimental ice cream concoction called, you guessed it, a Shaky Shiver is the symbolic manifestation of that lesson. The message delivery is as shaky as the eponymous dessert.


I cannot in good conscience recommend this film to anyone. The 80-minute runtime drags slower than Karen dragging a dead body in the movie’s second act. The performances are cynical and sour. I am sure that a certain group will enjoy Shaky Shivers. But only once.

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