David Cronenberg continues to be one of horror's more visionary directors. Anytime someone claims that horror is just “big breasted bimbos being killed in gruesome fashion,” I point out directors like Cronenberg. Shivers was one of his earliest films and all his hallmarks are in it. Body horror, sexual violence, and just the right amount of social commentary; it’s all here. Like many of his horror films, Shivers is a smart movie that gives you all of the good, gruesome stuff as well.
Much like his next film, Rabid, would do, Shivers shows the residents of an apartment complex becoming infected by a mysterious parasite. This essentially creates a nice origin for what will most certainly become a worldwide epidemic by film’s end. It’s truly amazing how Cronenberg made two films (the other being the aforementioned Rabid) depicting a parasite taking over with such a small budget so well compared to larger-budgeted films failing miserably at the same thing. The film also boasts two huge horror icons, Barbara Steele and Lynn Lowry. Both are excellent in their respective roles and are a joy to see. Until they meet their eventual demise. This is a Cronenberg film after all.
David Cronenberg is still one of my favorite horror directors, due simply to his willingness to try something different. Shivers is no exception. This was his first horror film and was a testament of great things to come. It now sits justly in its place as a horror classic and one of Cronenberg’s finest. If you’re a fan of Cronenberg, and body horror in particular, then you should definitely check this one out. Especially if you’re curious to see the beginnings of many of his famous tropes.