31 Days of Horror: Shaky Shivers is a werewolf horror comedy mashup

Shaky Shivers. Image courtesy Screambox
Shaky Shivers. Image courtesy Screambox /

Screambox original Shaky Shivers is the kind of movie where there’s plenty for longtime genre fans to dig. It’s got an astute vocabulary that mixes horror tropes with comedic parody, even if it sometimes overreaches, its ambition making it stutter and stumble.

The title establishes our tone of tongue-in-cheek meets spooky right away, as a “Shaky Shiver” is a special milkshake at the dessert shop where our main characters work.

Shaky Shivers
Shaky Shivers. Image courtesy Screambox /

Lucy (Brooke Markham) and Karen (VyVy Nguyen) are great friends who’ve known each other from childhood and who are now working at a local ice cream parlor slash diversified sweets place owned by Bob (Herschel Sparber). Bob’s a sweet old guy who’s pretty protective of his two young employees, shooing away a customer slash former high school classmate of the girls when she gets troublesome.

Next thing we know, we’re at an abandoned camp with Karen and Lucy, who’re panicking in their car. It seems Lucy has been cursed by another rude customer (wow, that sweets shop is in a bad location) when she refused to give the witchy-looking woman some free ice cream.

Both of them are now convinced that Lucy will transform into a werewolf and so have driven to a remote location to figure out how to work through it and not kill anyone.

The plot is simple enough: both girls want to survive the night and hope that some anti-lycanthropy tips from a role-playing manual (basically doubling as a magic spell book) will enable them to turn Lucy back into a normal person.

Furthering the difficulty of those two issues is a throat-slashing creature (who may or may not be Bigfoot) is hunting them while they try to get their act together.

Shaky Shivers
Shaky Shivers. Image courtesy Screambox /

Shaky Shivers is a comedy and horror mashup

First off, what really makes this movie funny and running on its own steam is that Nguyen and Markham have awesome chemistry together. The women are naturally comedic and deliver the often absurd lines with enough panache that knowingly, winkingly says:  “Hey, we are in a horror comedy and we’ll milk it for all its worth.”

The effectiveness of the jump scares and the whole scary vibe comes mainly from a great mix of practical FX and makeup by Gabe Bartalos and the CGI team (what little of it there is). They knew where to put their budget when director Sung-Ho Kang inserted close-ups of a zombie attack and werewolfy sequences that were long enough and apt enough to mark this as squarely a genre feature.

Shaky Shivers
Shaky Shivers. Image courtesy Screambox /

I mean, at its runtime of an hour and 32 minutes, throwing a bunch of classic monsters in this comedic homage to 80s classic horror movies, Kang clearly knew what his fellow genre ghouls would be looking for and did he go beast mode where it mattered.

Who knew Kang, who rose to popularity as Han Lue in the Fast & Furious movies, was such an astute student of this kind of mashup that he basically crafted a pretty nicely budgeted indie that’s a cut above the rest?

Fueled by a combo of the slapstick funnies and a candid gruesomeness borne of body horror and outright plasma spatter (plus an absurdly gigantic gun that looks like an anime prop that somehow adds to the overall zaniness), Shaky Shivers won’t be winning any industry production awards pretty soon but Kang’s love letter to 80s creatures and vintage filmmaking is definitely a fun and hilarious romp.

It’s a bit like if Goosebumps and The Howling had a love child that then went into comedy but still wanted to keep things very George Romero.

Shaky Shivers
Shaky Shivers. Image courtesy Screambox /

Sure it sometimes gets so tied up in its own madcap tonality that the jokes aren’t set up well (I could’ve used less of the tried bullied misfit standups) or that it gets too embroiled in its “Oh, I am a horror parody!” feel, but these are minor complaints in a mostly well done and very cool project that knows where its gory strengths are buttered.

It’s a great choice for Screambox to finally put this on their platform after a short theatrical run, where lovers of werewolves, comedy, and ice cream can stream this for the season.

The SCREAMBOX Original Shaky Shivers is streaming now.

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