So, you wouldn’t give that weird lady free ice cream after closing time, things escalated, and now you might be a werewolf. (Oops.) What’s a girl to do but recruit her best friend for help navigating this new supernatural world of magic, mayhem, and monsters? Get ready for Shaky Shivers.
The horror-comedy comes from writers Andrew McAllister and Aaron Strongoni. The film stars Brooke Markham and VyVy Nguyen, with Jimmy Bellinger, Erin Daniels, and Herschel Sparber. Shaky Shivers also marks the feature directorial debut of Sung Kang, known for his roles in the Fast & Furious franchise and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Markham and Nguyen are a couple of killer leads
I felt immediately hooked by Shaky Shivers thanks to its leads, Brooke Markham (Lucy) and VyVy Nguyen (Karen). They’re both really funny and play off each other so well; you’re drawn into their wacky, up-and-down, ride-or-die friendship dynamic from the start.
(If YOUR best friend thought they might be a werewolf, are you telling me you wouldn’t drive out to the middle of nowhere, handcuff them to your steering wheel, and monitor them at their request under the full moon??)
There are a couple other characters who appear sprinkled throughout the story, but most of Shaky Shivers relies on scenes with just Karen and Lucy. But start to finish, you feel captured by their jokes, arguments, and off-the-wall approaches to dealing with the supernatural. This movie wouldn’t work if their friendship didn’t feel so believable and relatable.
Shaky Shivers marks a noteworthy directorial debut for Sung Kang
Beyond its leads, Shaky Shivers also serves as the feature directorial debut for Sung Kang. This movie definitely presents some challenges to direct: with only a couple actors and a similarly limited number of scene locations, seeing things play out on screen could pretty easily become repetitive or boring for viewers.
But Kang does a nice job keeping things fresh, while also working in an homage or two to some horror classics like American Werewolf in London. And he has a nice eye for comedy as well; I don’t want to spoil anything specifically, but there’s a recurring bit framed in a static wide shot that got me every time. Overall, I’d definitely be interested in seeing what Kang might direct in the future based on this first project.
Bringing it home with pure campy supernatural fun
Do you love movies that are unapologetically goofy and fun? That’s Shaky Shivers. It’s campy and it knows it, and it leans into that aspect instead of pretending to be something it’s not. (Yes, it is convenient that the characters have a binder full of problem-solving spells at their disposal. They think so too.)
The movie is being billed as a horror-comedy, but for the record it’s a lot more comedy than horror. That said, there’s no shortage of the supernatural here. Werewolves and zombies and witches, oh my! Along with that comes some fun practical creature effects and monster makeup. I loved that this gave Shaky Shivers the feel of an old-school 70s or 80s horror flick.
The plot escalates in a compelling way, even when the twists and turns are goofy (in a good way). To put it simply, Shaky Shivers entertained me from start to finish. I had a really good time watching it. I think it’s a great choice to close out a movie marathon of horror flicks; you get the right supernatural vibe, but you’ll laugh more than you get truly scared.
Or, make it a big-screen outing: Shaky Shivers hits theaters for one night only September 21.