“Shivers Down Your Spine: A Horror Anthology”
This micro budget, indie, horror anthology from Nebraska is a great example of what is right in the world of indie cinema. The folks at Dead Lantern took their time, over 4 years, an extremely limited budget and made the absolute most of it. Utilizing their talented cast, make up, location, and simple effects to create ten short films which successfully draw the audience into their world and keep them captivated through their stylistically diverse film.
Many, though not all, anthology films feature some sort of bookend, or wrap around type story. This highly original introduction shows how an anthology should be showcased. An average man making himself a frozen pizza finds a magic lamp in his microwave. When he rubs it, a djinni appears, topless, of course. His reaction to her is priceless, as he tells her to put some cloths on and to get her boobs out of his face. From that point on the audience is hooked. A splash of MSTK and a dash of Arabian Nights can best describe the rapport between Jeff (Steve Eaton) and the djinni, Sabihah (Megan Shepard), as she fulfills one of his wishes… to be told stories.
The shorts themselves cover a good range of subject matter and style, from ghosts to serial killers, from subtle dark humor to film noir. As we would expect from anthology films, some of the films are outstanding (my personal favorites were Last Breath and I Dream of Djinn), and some leave less of an impact, but are still quite good. A couple of the shorts (Shortly After Nightfall and A Bad Heart) run a little long for my preferences and allowed me to pull out of the film. Though well executed, were they tightened up a little more, they’d be stronger stories. The final tale, A Christmas Horror Story, is, in itself, a solid short and a nice homage to the classic slasher mysteries, but felt a little out of place. Perhaps because it’s a period piece, and stylistically, very different from the rest. Maybe it’s because just before it, Last Breath, is such a strong piece, and the film could have ended there. In any case, it’s a strong story with awkward placement in the anthology.
If you enjoy indie anthology films, and even with the tiny budget, I strongly recommend Shivers Down Your Spine.