I can’t remember where I saw an article recently that bemoaned the use of irrelevant nouns in the naming of characters and movies. For example, why is it called The Sopranos? At least if Tony were a stoolie, you could make a “singing” connection. Or Salt with Angelina Jolie – what up? In this case, we don’t even get a character named Shiver, although that would be pretty strange in itself. I could maybe give partial credit if the main weapon used were a shiv. But no. There seems to be no relevance to the title at all. Maybe that’s kind of appropriate for a lackluster movie like this. For reasons that are never clear, the film starts 12 years in the past. A man in a beat-up Mercedes pulls into Cadillac Jack’s. Inside, he awkwardly asks out a waitress that is 12 parsecs (and 12 years) out of his league. Strangely, he asks her out to “that Jack NIcholson movie that’s up for all the Oscars.” The timing would indicate About Schmidt which was up for 2 Oscars, but why not say that? He hangs out in the parking lot for another 7 hours until closing time, and luckily it is her night to lock up. Yada yada, she is beat to death, cut to present. As cute as the waitress was, Danielle Harris is the draw here — all 4’11” of her. Her day is off to a swell start with a nagging call from Mom (Valerie Harper). A couple of nag-a-palooza scenes are really the only reason Valerie Harper is here. This will be very disappointing to people who remember her from the Mary Tyler Moore show – where she was at least as hot as the star, but supposed to be repulsive. Here, she simply is repulsive, phoning it in — literally — she has no scenes with a live human.
Meanwhile, the killer — The Gryphon — is back at work. Or has he been doing this for 12 years? I guess you have to read the novel to know. Casper Van Dien is adequate as the lead detective, but the shock was seeing Rae Dawn Chong as his partner. Where has she been for the last 25 years? And why does she still have the same hairstyle as she did in Commando? Could have been worse — at least it has been washed since Quest for Fire. The rest of the movie is fairly hum-drum. There is a lot going on, but the direction, score and cinematography drag it down. The main actors do their best, especially Danielle Harris and John Jarrett as The Gryphon – they really are worth the price of admission, but the filmmakers let them down. Danielle is in and out of of Gryphon’s clutches like Kim Bauer on a bad season of 24. Really, it had a lot of potential. But, drearily on and on it goes, until it ends about like you would expect. Except for a completely unnecessary dream sequence. Which maybe is what you would expect.
I could have included a picture of Danielle Harris, but I saw her once at Texas Frightmare – the pics just don’t do her justice.
Shiver was based on a novel by Brian Harper. I thought maybe that accounted for Valerie Harper’s presence, however could find no connection. But I ain’t no Casper Van Dien.