Genre: Horror / Sci Fi
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Barbara Steele, Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Alan Migicivsky
Duration: 87 min.
The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.
Shivers also known as They Came From Within and The Parasite Murders is a film written and directed by David Cronenberg. It isn't his first directorial credit but it is his first truly commercial feature following a few short and experimental films and a brief career directing for television.
This is an extremely low budget film set in an apartment complex on Nuns' Island in Montreal, where residents infected with a strange parasite become sex crazed zombies. The plot is weak and full of holes, and the acting is what you'd expect from a 70's horror film, but Cronenberg manages to do several things effectively, showing us the beginnings of the revered director that he would become.
The film starts brilliantly with a mock advertisement for the Starliner Towers, a slideshow and voice-over intended to exalt the wonders and amenities of self-sufficient high-rise living, but instead fills us with a sense of creeping dread. He then proceeds to introduce the various interesting characters and residents of the building. We get to see early on that something sinister is going on, but the what and the why are only revealed gradually, with a great tension.
We also get to see the first of what are now considered Cronenberg's trademark themes. The connection between humanity and technology, and an interest or obsession with grotesque mutations of flesh. Not only inspiring his own later work, but you can also see how the inventive prosthetic and creature effects here directly influenced the famous chest-bursting scene from Alien.
Shivers is flawed and rough around the edges, but a strong artistic statement and an enjoyably fun genre film from one of my personal favorite filmmakers.
— Bonjour Tristesse