Skinwalkers – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Jim Isaac

Cast

Jason Behr………Varek
Elias Koteas………Jonas
Rhona Mitra………Rachel
Natassia Malthe………Sonja
Sarah Carter………Katherine
Kim Coates………Zo
Matthew Knight………Timothy
Lyriq Bent………Doak
Shawn Roberts………Adam

DVD Release Date: November 27, 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 110 Minutes (The DVD cover says it is that long, but the film barely clocks in at over 90 minutes.)

The Movie

There are two different types of werewolves in the world. Those that consider their powers as a curse (the Skinwalkers) and those who consider it a blessing. While both groups are exactly the same in changing from human form to werewolf on a full moon and thirsting for blood, the Skinwalkers take specific measures in order to ensure that they will never be the blood-charged demons the others have become. They long to make it to the day when the curse will be lifted and their lives can be lived in peace. But the bloodthirsty werewolves aim to make sure that never happens.

Young Timothy is a half-breed that is four days away from his thirteenth birthday. He does not know of the werewolf blood that courses inside his veins, and neither does his mother (who is a pure blood human). If he makes it to be thirteen, then the curse will be lifted and all will be alright. Yet his life is in grave dangers as those thirsting for blood are after his life and look to make sure he dies. All of Timothy’s friends and family aim to keep him alive so their curse can be lifted and they may live in peace. Varek and his crew will stop at nothing to kill Timothy though; even if it means some long kept secrets being revealed.

Skinwalkers is just a bad film from the first moment. The title credits alone show you how cheesy it is going to be and they end up not being wrong. One of the biggest and evidently the most glaring problems is how the werewolves look. There is no real transformation but simply you see humans shaking around, a cut away scene, and then a shot back and they are werewolves. Werewolves that look like a strange combination of Lon Chaney in The Wolfman and Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. I can’t forget that they stole Michael Jackson’s yellow eyes from the “Thriller” video as well. Taking them seriously or even somewhat scary is hard to do when the female werewolf looks like a Siamese cat.

Next up in the “what they did wrong” list are the plot holes and plot retardation. If you’re wondering why the good guys call themselves “Skinwalkers,” then you might as well just keep on wondering. It never is quite said why. And as for the bad guys wanting to kill Timothy; one has to wonder why they waited until only four days before the deadline to go looking for him. Scenes in the beginning of the film make you believe they’ve been looking for maybe a little bit longer, but not very long.

If you’re looking for retardation at its finest, then you shall look no further then Skinwalkers because you will find one of the most insane gun battles ever. At one point the baddies wander into town and their leader Varek lays eyes on Timothy. An all out gun battle ensues between the werewolf motorcycle gang and the town residents. Grandma, the mailman, the hardware store clerk, and a few others break numerous weapons from nowhere and the shootout begins. I know I’m no marksman, but just by watching the film, I’d say that there were only two bullets that found their mark for every two hundred shot.

You just can’t take anything seriously in the film and it makes more amusing then anything else. The story is absurd and the acting is bad so you’re bound to get bored quite easily. I don’t know how many times the hope ran through me that Timothy’s mom Rachel (Rhona Mitra) would get torn limb from limb. God she is annoying and her bad acting doesn’t help matters. Still, there’s more to piss you off as you’ll be left with numerous other questions and thoughts such as: “Why did the bad vampires pass up so many opportunities to kill Timothy but just stared at him as if waiting for a Skinwalker to shoot them?” or “You know it’s true love when you’ve killed all my friends and family, hit me at least ten times, and tried to kill my son…but we’re a couple so let’s get a hotel room.”

The Video

The film is shown in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and it looks good enough, but meh. Each transformation of the werewolves is barely seen even though the finished product looked crappy anyway. And while colors look good, there is barely any blood to get a good contrast of.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and couldn’t be more unappealing. Considering how horrible the choices of music are for the entire film, it doesn’t help the sound quality any. Some dialogue can be heard alright while the whispering is really hard to hear. Music is never too loud, but at times the sound effects of gun blasts and motorcycle engines is.

Special Features

Making Of Skinwalkers – It’s an eight-and-a-half minute featurette that has the cast and crew discussing how cool the werewolves look and how they got “so” into their parts. Yawn.

Audio Commentary – Director Jim Isaac is flying solo here and goes on and on and on about how long it took him to get this film going. He talks about getting funding, finding actors, and locating others who loved the script as much as he did to get Skinwalkers made. He then goes into the story itself, the look of the biker vampires, and everything else. Basic stuff. He does say the word “sexy” way too much though.

Huguenot Shooting Pre-Visualization – You can now watch this incredibly ludicrous scene in three different ways; normal view with a small computerized animatic, small view with a screen-sized computerized animatic, or strictly computerized animatic. The fully computerized version comes with commentary from producer Dennis Berardi. It seems that limited budget made this scene incredibly difficult to shoot for them, and it shows.

Deleted Scenes – Eight deleted scenes that have no bearing on the film whatsoever. There is actually one of the bad vampires simply parking their bikes and getting off of them without saying a word.

Theatrical Trailer

Digital FX Comparisons – Berardi is back and explains that their intentions were to make the film very fantasy-based but show it in a reality vision so people could believe that everything could truly happen somewhere. This is a minute and a half of Berardi explaining how they combined CGI, backdrops, and live shots to create Skinwalkers. Really? I don’t think those things have ever been done before! (eye roll)

TrailersThe Monster Squad, Fido, The Descent, and Fangs

The Inside Pulse

With so many other werewolf films available, there’s got to be something else you can watch besides this. What upsets me most about Skinwalkers is that Rhona Mitra seems to have benefited from it. In case you didn’t know, she’ll be starring in the third Underworld film. If the filmmakers for that film knew what was good for them, they’d watch her performance here and make a quick change. I hate how werewolves were presented in this film and it bothers me because they are quite possibly my favorite monsters of all time right behind vampires. Here they look like total idiots that defend their livelihoods with weapons instead of sheer brutality. Now all they are is a bunch of dog-looking folks with guns. So you give Robin Williams a shotgun…oooo scary! Isaac’s commentary sets the tone for the rest of the special features as he seems like a horny teenager that thinks everything is sexy. He also is boring as all hell which is what the entire DVD ends up being like. Skip this one at all costs and follow the one good piece of advice the Skinwalkers DVD gives out, go buy The Monster Squad. At least in that one you had a werewolf with nards.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Skinwalkers
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

1.5
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

5
THE EXTRAS

2
REPLAY VALUE

0
OVERALL
2
(NOT AN AVERAGE)


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