What a mess… Skin Walkers has a great looking poster and DVD cover but that’s where the quality begins and ends with this lycanthrope stinker.
According to a Navajo legend, a young boy will end the curse of the ‘Skin Walkers’ (Werewolves to the rest of us) when he turns thirteen on the third night of the red moon. The movie opens with a series of confusing scenes that are supposed to draw us into the story. They don’t, they’re shot without any original thought or creativity and all the ‘shocks’ are telegraphed. Well, what shocks there are, because for a werewolf movie there’s very little in the way of bloodletting or even a good transformation scene! It’s all gun play and more gun play, and just in case you missed that cool shot of the gun from a different angle, there’s more gun play. Everyone has a lot of guns. It’s an action movie with werewolves rather than a werewolf horror movie…
Timothy (Matthew Knight) is having bad dreams, are they premonitions or is he remembering something horrific from his past. Not that we care much anyway. He’s looked after by his single mum, Rachel (Rhona Mitra) and his extended family of his Nana (Barbara Gordon), his uncle Jonas (Elias Koteas), his cousin Katherine (Sarah Carter), Will (Tom Jackson) a Navajo for good measure and the local postman Doak (Lyriq Bent), and pretty much the whole town. His mum is human but the rest are all SkinWalkers and want the curse to end so they’ve been protecting him since he was born. They’re protecting him from the bad Skin Walkers who like being werewolves and therefore want to kill the boy before he turns thirteen.
The bad guys are led by Varek (Jason Behr) who is accompanied by Sonja (Natassia Malthe), Zo (Kim Coates) and Grenier (Rogue Johnston). They ride around like an outlaw motorcycle gang shot in slo-mo, have sex in slo-mo and generally do whatever they want. There’s a shoot out in town early on in the piece that’s just ridiculous and then there’s some chase scenes and more shooting. For all the shooting that goes on it takes a lot of shots to hit anyone… and there’s never a cop in sight.
There’s a decent scene where the bad guys in werewolf form attack a redneck bar and kill everyone, although it’s nowhere near as good as the bar attack from Near Dark. That’s about it though.
The movie was directed by Jim Isaacs and he loves to move the camera for no reason whatsoever. He should have spent more time with the scriptwriters, all three of them, to flesh out the story and dialogue a bit more.
At least the effects are done with traditional make-up rather than CGI and for that reason alone the movie deserves some points. However, even though the make-up is done by the Stan Winston Studio you get the feeling that Stan had his best guys on another project at the time. The werewolves look a little bit like ‘Beast’ in that horrible Beauty & The Beast TV show from a few years ago. As mentioned earlier there’s no transformation scene here..!
SPOILER ALERT. If you care and you shouldn’t, the cure is in Timothy’s blood. Varek is Timothy’s dad, he bites Timothy, is cured and happy families are reunited. They decide to put some of Timothy’s blood into bullets to ‘cure’ the remaining werewolves, which is hilarious as we’ve just witnessed these guys shooting a million bullets and missing everyone they aim at… it’s going to take a lot of Timothy’s blood at this rate. They also left it open for a sequel but who’s going to want one?
Quality: 1 out of 5 stars
Any Good: 1 out of 5 stars (unless you like gun porn)