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FILM REVIEW: Shaky Shivers (2023)

Shaky Shivers - New Release Review

Director: Sung Kang

Starring: Brooke Markham, VyVy Nguyen, Jimmy Bellinger, Erin Daniels

Written by: Andrew McAllister, Aaron Strongoni

Produced by: Luci Y. Kim, Jean Shim, Brian Yang

Cinematography by: Remi Tournois

Original Score by: Timo Chen


Two young women find themselves at an abandoned camp in the woods with a book of magical spells surrounded by classic monsters.


When you've been a mainstay in a number of 'Fast & the Furious' movies and even appeared as an Inquisitor in one of the most recent (and best) 'Star Wars' TV shows, what's next on the list? Make a silly, 80s inspired comedy horror about monsters and then appear in a cameo role right at the end why of course. Sung Kang's directorial debut is far from flawless but it's hard not to have fun with it and it made me laugh out loud more than once.

Lucy and Karen are two best friends who both work at a low-key ice cream store called Friendly Freeze, which seems to be in the middle of nowhere. It's a boring job and they know they're basically wasting their best years, well Lucy does anyway. Karen wouldn't mind having her own store someday. They work for Bob (Hershel Sparber), a giant of a man with a giant and gentle demeanour. Every day is essentially the same, except for one night when a strange woman with twigs for fingers enters and casts a curse of Lucy. Life is about to get very weird for both Lucy and Karen.

Weirdly the film decides to kick off the day after these events when there is a full moon due in the sky and Lucy asks Karen to to drive her out into the sticks near an abandoned summer camp. Lucy believes she will transform into a werewolf because of the curse and she wants Karen to witness the transformation. With a very large gun and a pair of kinky handcuffs in the front seat, the two friends wait patiently for the full moon to rise and for Lucy to turn into a beast. What happens next kicks off a hilarious chain of events that I could never have envisioned involving zombies, cults and... Bigfoot?

'Shaky Shivers' takes cues from 'Evil Dead II' although it's definitely not on the same level as Raimi's classic. It's closer in tone to something like 'Psycho Goreman' but even more whimsical, so if you enjoyed that film then this might be up your street. Sung Kang is admittedly a huge fan of 80s and early 90s horror and this is clearly an homage to that generation of films. It's an incredibly fun watch with quirky dialogue and inventive prosthetic make up effects and the best thing is it doesn't overstay it's welcome.

Brooke Markham is the star of the show as the cursed Lucy. Her comedy timing is fantastic and her facial expressions are priceless. I didn't get the impression that they were improvising but Brooke and VyVy's relationship onscreen is quite infectious and they really play off each other well. VyVy plays Karen a bit more straight and narrow which allows Brooke to really go for it.

The comedy is playful and doesn't feel forced which is so often the case in these nostalgia-based low budget comedy horror films so if you just want to zone out for 90 minutes or so and have a bit of fun then please check 'Shaky Shivers' out if you can. The performances are so charming, you won't regret it.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

- Gavin Logan

'Shaky Shivers' is now streaming exclusively on SCREAMBOX

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