Shaky Shivers (2023) 

Two young women head to a cabin in the woods where they meet with monsters of all kinds, armed only with a book of spells to save themselves. 

Written by Andrew McAllister and Aaron Strongoni, and directed by Sung Kang (yes, that Sung Kang), this horror comedy is a hoot and a half. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s well written, put together, and directed. Is it for everyone? Of course not. But come on, it is nearly for everyone. The film is funny, it’s got heart, it makes fun, in a respectful way, of the genre and some of its tropes. It’s the kind of film that would go gangbusters at a midnight screening on any given week, but it’s being unleashed on unsuspecting viewers in regular theaters, through Fathom Events. This is the kind of film that would work great during the summer, on vacation, but it also is perfect for Halloween spooky season. The characters here a limited to a few with a few monsters coming in and out of the story, giving most of the screen time to the two lead actresses, giving them plenty to do and a few good twists and turn. The film’s humor is pinpointed for horror fans, giving winks and nods to films of the past and horror of the 1980s, a period where horror films were numerous and a period many romanticize these days. As it is, the story is simple, yet effective, the characters are likable (in most cases), and the humor works.  

The lead cast here is made up of VyVy Nguyen and Brooke Markham who make one heck of a team. Yes, “heck” is used on purpose. The film has some language that will push some, but honestly, it fits the characters. It’s a charming, but a bit in your face comedy and the leads are very aware of this, playing up the shocks and the humor without making it hokey or annoying. The performances by Nguyen and Markham are just right for the film and will be the favorite parts for many viewers in the weeks to come. The rest of the cast here is not exactly numerous, but that’s ok as they all do decently to great in their parts. The monsters are fun and give good performances that will not be discussed further to avoid any further spoilers.  

The film of course sports a look that is very 1980s from the wardrobe to the hair to the makeup, the details were clearly carefully considered, and the crew had fun bringing the characters and locations to life through all the little things that should be noticed here. Another strong point for Shaky Shivers is the cinematography by Remi Tournois and how the editing by Wes Smith works with the images created. This film is well-shot and allows the viewer to see exactly what it wants them to see. There is a way to shoot this that is just perfect and the team of Tournois and Smith made sure we got to see what we needed to and that it was edited in a manner to give just the right amount of time for each scene, each being to be on the screen. Working with all of these are the special effects which are fun here. Kudos to the effects team for making this just the right amount of bloody, for giving the monsters a retro look that works with the film, and for going just enough overboard at times to keep things fun.  

Shaky Shivers is a fun romp through the woods with a fun duo at its center. It plays the monsters and magic of its story for fun and while it’s humorous and a send-up of 1980s movies, it still feels current in a way. The fun here is clearly being had by those involved in making the film which helps create a contagious mood for the viewers.