Movie Review for Skinwalkers (2007)

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Review #501 of 365
Movie Review of Skinwalkers (2007) [PG-13] 110 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $7.00
Where Viewed: Harkins Ciné Capri at Northfield 18, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 10 August 2007
Time: 4:30 pm
DVD Release Date: 27 November 2007 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: Download now from Andrew Lockington - Skinwalkers - or - order the CD below

Directed by: James Isaac (Jason X)
Written by: James DeMonaco (Assault on Precinct 13) • Todd Harthan (debut) • James Roday (debut)

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Jason Behr (The Grudge) • Elias Koteas (Shooter) • Rhona Mitra (The Number 23) • Kim Coates (Silent Hill) • Natassia Malthe (DOA: Dead or Alive) • Matthew Knight (The Grudge 2) • Sarah Carter (Haven) • Tom Jackson (Dream Storm) • Rogue Johnston (Get Rich or Die Tryin') • Barbara Gordon (Neil) • Shawn Roberts (Cheaper by the Dozen 2) • Lyriq Bent (Saw III)

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Click here to read the spoiler points for Skinwalkers.
A horror movie released in August that isn't that great, surprise, surprise. A horror movie about two sects of werewolves battling for their survival, hmm sounds a bit like Underworld doesn't it? Well, for all the hype and delays in the release of this film, probably most people involved would sort of like to pretend it never happened. The made-for-Sci-Fi creature movies often have better plots and premises than this film. Most people actually are a bit tired of the werewolf / vampire genre, and some, sadly were probably hoping, due to the title, that this one might be a bit more about the Navajo legend and less like the relatively typical werewolf movie plots we've already seen.

"…a decidedly average film…neither the script nor the directing really pushes the envelopes of previous films on the topics of werewolves…"
The twist, if you can call it that, in this film, I guess is that there are two sects of skinwalkers, ones that have fed on humans and cannot control their desires to feed again each full moon when they turn again into uncontrollable wolves at night and ones that secure themselves in harnesses and straps from which they cannot escape to keep them from being able to feed and get the taste for human blood in their systems. This kinder, gentler sect also believes in a legend that a hybrid human / skinwalker child will, upon reaching the moon of his 13th birthday, be able to end the curse and return them to being normal human beings. They aren't too quiet about the existence of this child, but they do work very hard to keep his location a closely guarded secret. The killer sect cannot allow him to survive and works tirelessly to ascertain his location. One pack of four, led by Varek (Jason Behr) has managed to solve the mystery of his location by watching a video tape put out by the kinder sect to prove he exists and to give them hope that their salvation is near. So, he and his comrades head off like a gang of bikers in leather jackets to the small town of Huguenot where he is being protected. The chosen one, Tim (Matthew Knight) is experiencing terrible nightmares, asthmatic attacks, and cold sweats as he tries to sleep under the increasingly blood red moon supposedly the sign of his arrival. His mother, Rachel (Rhona Mitra) has no clue that nearly everyone in the entire town is a skinwalker but her, and that they've all been working Tim's entire life to protect him and is mother from harm after his father, who was a skinwalker was thought killed in a werewolf attack. His brother, Jonas (Elias Koteas), in fact, has enveloped the boy in layers of protection, the kind that only a small town in the middle of nowhere where everyone knows everyone can provide. A falcon guides Varek though there is no suggestion that the falcon might also be a skinwalker as true skinwalker legend suggests that skinwalkers can take the form of any animal they choose. This film confines itself to the werewolf subset of skinwalkers. The rest of the movie then focuses on the kind sect doing everything it can to keep Tim safe and alive while Varek's band tries everything they can do to kill him.

Unlike so many werewolf films, including this year's spring release of Blood and Chocolate Skinwalkers does not preoccupy itself with trying to one-up the previous film with either the majesty of the transformation (as was so evident in B&C) or the special effects of the make-up and/or costumes of the werewolves. Instead, Stan Winston is the man behind the relatively simple, yet frightening, walking upright, wolf-people. They are scary looking, but nothing on even the scale of what still strikes me as the scariest werewolf movie of all time, An American Werewolf in London. The tension is created by the pursuit and possible betrayals of one sect vs. the other. In the spoiler, also, some juicy details on this will be revealed, but not here.

The acting is satisfactory as is the direction by James Isaac. Unfortunately, neither the script nor the directing really pushes the envelopes of previous films on the topics of werewolves. There's not really much new territory, and there might have been had they chosen to study the Navajo legends more thoroughly and have come up with something a little more fresh. The trailers and the poster make the film look a lot more frightening than it is. This cut of the film was made to earn the PG-13 down from an R rating perhaps because the producers feared insufficient attendance with the tougher rating in order for them to break even on the film. This would suggest that the DVD version might be a better alternative for people that were hoping for a really nasty and gory film that this is not. And, like it or not, in the off chance that the film does do decently well at the box office, the ending does leave the door open for a sequel, of course. Skinwalkers is a decidedly average film, the kind we get used to seeing in August and February. It's neither a good nor terribly entertaining movie, but if you've seen absolutely everything thing else at the drive-in in your small town, and you cannot wait for the DVD or Download, then by all means go ahead and see it, just keep the top of your convertible up!

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Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring Skinwalkers (2007)
Cast Members
Jason BehrElias KoteasRhona Mitra
Kim CoatesNatassia MaltheMatthew Knight
Sarah CarterTom JacksonRogue Johnston
Barbara GordonLyriq Bent
James Isaac
James DeMonacoTodd HarthanJames Roday
CD Soundtrack
related product

Review-lite Skinwalkers (2007) [max of 150 words]
Anyone who had high hopes that Skinwalkers was going to actually use the Navajo legends as its basal mythology be forewarned, Skinwalkers is basically another werewolf movie. This time, there are two sects: those that enjoy their abilities and have a crazy hungry craving for human flesh, and those that loathe their inner beast and lock themselves up during full moons to prevent themselves from terrorizing and killing humans beings. Fortunately, there is hope. A hybrid child half skinwalker half human with blood stronger than either will put an end to the curse of the skinwalkers forever, if he can make it to his 13th birthday alive. This one can definitely be saved for the DVD or Download queue without remorse. Jason Behr turns in a decently conflicted performance as the leader of the pack sent to kill the chosen one.

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