Shudder: A Quarantined Review


Shudder began with beta testing in 2015, and has now been up and running as a platform for almost five years.

Shudder is an at home streaming service for both movies and television. The only difference: it’s horror. All of the titles on Shudder revolve around the horror genre. Since I’ve recently had more time than I know what to do with, I decided to pitch in and buy it to see what the hype is all about, because believe me, there is plenty of hype surrounding this service.

What drew me in was their series about cursed movies, I kept seeing adds pop up for it when watching Youtube, and the premise genuinely piqued my interest. Just like any other streaming service, Shudder has their own repertoire of originals and exclusives, this show being no exception. What I did not expect, was the wide array of variety. Not only were there documentaries, but also foreign and limited release films that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere due to their explicit content.

I started by watching Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. The documentary was the perfect kind of informative and interesting. Documentaries are most effective when covering topics that don’t get the spotlight in museums or history books. This is a great example of a forgotten history that is shown in full with the voices of modern actors and directors to weigh in. It opened conversation about the stories that can be told throughout cinema, both the documentary itself and the movies within. I especially liked the style of the documentary, it was very well shot and designed. Overall, it was an amazing viewing experience.

As for the show I was most excited for? I was thoroughly let down. Cursed Films was a complete bust. While I still found it interesting, the focus was drown out and hard to find among all of the unnecessary interviews. I was under the impression that the show would go into everything that had deemed these sets as ‘cursed.’ Though in the first episode, which focused on the Exorcist, there were barely two examples of things that happened on set and less than five minutes dedicated to the phenomena in cinemas, which was basically all chalked up to publicity anyway. What I got instead, was a meaningless look into real life exorcisms and how they were effected by the movie’s release. Not what I expected, to say the least. Also not what I had wanted to learn more about.

I was let down by the documentary skills and cohesiveness of the first episode. It felt as if I had learned nothing, and had instead wasted my time. I don’t think this reflects the majority of Shudder documentaries and shows, it’s just my criticism of the one show I was looking forward to. I have sincerely liked the majority of other content on the platform.

The site is very easy to navigate and well curated. The genres, yes, there are different genres of horror, are all laid out in a format that will help any fan of the macabre find exactly what they’re looking for. It was surprising to see just how many titles the platform hosts. From the likes of the horrifically graphic and sensationaliszed Cannibal Holocaust, to the peppy 80’s teen fun of Heathers, there is truly something for everyone. Personally, I’ve always had an issue watching movies with graphic gore, such as the Saw franchise, so to me the amount of options and range was a phenomenal feature.

I am happy with my decision to finally cave in and buy Shudder after so many Youtube adds. The service has provided me with a seemingly endless amount of entertainment thus far. While I was sorely disappointed in Cursed Films, the rest of the Shudder titles have been up to par with what would be expected of exclusive or original content. I can honestly say that I recommend this service to anyone that asked.