So the summer keeps chugging along and in the final months most movies get dumped into theaters to squeak by and make as much as possible. After Dark Films is one of those studios that is notorious for putting out crap and surprisingly some people do manage to go see them. “Skinwalkers” is the latest film from the fledgling movie studio and in a word it’s…odd. It’s terrible yes, but there’s something about it that makes you want to sit till the end. In a nutshell, it’s one of those films that are so terrible it’s downright hilarious.
A skinwalker, for lack of a better word, is simply a werewolf. Yes folks, this is a werewolves vs. werewolves film. An ancient prophecy is going around the werewolf community that a soon-to-be 13-year-old boy is the link to ruining the werewolf way of life. On the one side there’s the group of people trying to protect the innocent Timothy (Matthew Knight), mostly comprised of various family members and friends. The flipside has the werewolves that don’t want to life to end, who enjoy maiming and killing people and that group is led by the evil Varek (Jason Behr). When the two groups collide it’s up to Tim and his family to keep everybody alive.
I really wanted to enjoy “Skinwalkers” since it screams B-movie, but there just wasn’t enough to keep me interested. In terms of what I enjoyed the mythology of the werewolves is pretty interesting to hear, all the talk about “red moons” and all that was pretty fun. The script also tries to back up a lot of the plot holes with logic so you’re not sitting at the end saying “Well why wasn’t this topic addressed?” The movie is also very quick and doesn’t have any dragging moments, something that tends to happen with these types of films. It was also nice to watch Jason Behr return to the screen after being a “Roswell” fan for so long.
I wish I could say more about it in terms of enjoyment but I just can’t. So much of “Skinwalkers” is laughably terrible I can’t go on anymore trying to discuss its high points. The story is incredibly predictable with the angle of the “special” child who needs to be found and disposed of by some type of evil clan. It didn’t have to be werewolves to use this type of formula and that’s what’s sad, that this movie is incredibly cliché. The movie is also riddled with some bad production values. At one point you can see the microphone cord coming out of Behr’s shirt. The werewolf costumes are also God-awful. I know it’s difficult to pull off a werewolf without heavy amounts of CGI but this was ridiculous, the actors were so obviously in suits and bad ones at that. There are also scenes that make you say “What the hell” and not in a good way. There’s a ton of shoot-outs in this movie in the most ridiculous places, one involves an elderly woman pulling out a huge gun and acting like Rambo while she tells her grandson he needs to learn how to load the weapon. Then everybody in the entire town pulls out various automatic weapons. A scene like this was done in “Hot Fuzz” and in that film it was done to great effect, in this it’s stupid. There’s also another shoot-out in a working hospital with no police on the premises. See, this movie can give you a headache just asking questions. There’s also a weird issue with the sex, gore and violence in this movie. The film is a bit heavy on the violence, even showing an old woman get shot to death, but then you don’t see hardly any werewolf kills. Then there’s a weird sex scene that comes out of nowhere and just seems to be present to show some sex between Behr and one of the female characters. I definitely felt like they were holding back to make some money on an unrated DVD.
The one saving grace is that some of the actors try their best to work with what they have. Matthew Knight seems to be one of those young actors who could have done better with some stronger material; he didn’t come off as too annoying like most kids can in films like this. Elias Koteas does well as Jonas, but you can see he’s simply not trying that hard. Jason Behr also tries to do something with the character of Varek but he just seems to be walking through his lines. The weakest links sadly are the females, consisting of Rhona Mitra, Sarah Carter and Natassia Malthe. All of them are incredibly cliché ridden female characters that get on your nerves quickly.
Overall, “Skinwalkers” was just not my type of film. Maybe some people who enjoy movies like these will find some more redeeming value but I couldn’t stand it. I will definitely try to wait for a DVD and who knows, maybe I might just find something to enjoy.