SKINWALKERS, the latest After Dark release, tells the story of Timothy, whose 13th birthday is a mere days away, and the two packs of werewolves that are fighting over him. On the night of his 13th birthday, Timothy will be given the power to…heal werewolves. Even though he is one. Or something like that.
The film is so incoherent and insulting to the viewer’s intelligence that I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’m just going to jump in head first and try to explain why you shouldn’t waste your money on this piece of garbage (In case the awful trailer has not stopped you yet).
Let’s start with the effects. Stan Winston, an FX guru, helped create the creature designs for the film. He also created the designs for Aliens and Jurassic Park. And, on top of that, he has won four Oscars for his work. Directing SKINWALKERS is James Issac, who has worked on creature and special effects for Gremlins, Return of the Jedi and The Fly. Between the two of them working on the film, you’d figure we would at least get some good creatures and, hopefully, a great transformation scene. Alas, we got neither. I don’t know how they came up with this werewolf design but its terrible. It looks like they took the actors, bought them some dollar store fangs and glued a matted brown rug to their chests. They look more like the cavemen from the Geico commercials than werewolves. And the transformations? Off screen.
The action scenes are awkwardly composed and poorly directed. If the shoot-out scenes don’t make you scratch your head in bewilderment, mostly over the fact that this film got funded somehow, the werewolf fight scenes will. They resemble nothing more than poorly choreographed wrestling matches.
The acting is stale and nothing special. Equal blame is cast on odd casting choices and horrendous dialogue in making the film unbearable. Jason Behr as the lead bad guy? He doesn’t look menacing, even with his trashy biker get-up and CGI eye enhancements. Rhona Mitra, who plays Timothy’s mother, is a fan favorite from Boston Legal and Nip/Tuck. But, judging from this film, I couldn’t tell you why she has fans. Sure, she’s good looking but she has some of the worst dialogue in the film. I can’t recall a film from this year where I cared less about the characters. The actors probably couldn’t make heads or tails of the inconsistencies in their characters or the script to really give them any motivation or personality.
And it’s those script inconsistencies that really run the film into the ground. I have no idea what happened throughout most of the film. Timothy, on his 13th birthday, has the potential to end the werewolf curse forever. But how? Does he cure everyone with magic powers? Timothy’s whole family, save for his mother, are werewolves. How did the curse skip his mother? And how did they hide it for all those years? Why is the town conveniently deserted, just in time for a street shoot-out? I can’t answer these questions and apparently neither can the writers.
There is a “supposed” twist that happens somewhere near the mid-point but it’s so obvious that no one will be surprised. This twist, if you can even call it that, provides for a very predictable and anti-climactic ending.
SKINWALKERS bites. Please, do your favorite genre a favor and don’t support this abomination.