Hunt for the Skinwalker Movie Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Released by The Orchard
Written and directed by Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell
2018, 127 minutes, Not Rated
Released on September 11th, 2018
Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell
Full confession up front: I’d never heard of the Skinwalker Ranch before watching this lengthy documentary. It’s not that I have any difficulty believing in things like UFOs, poltergeists, crop circles, cattle mutilations, or skinwalkers; I can wrap my head around that. The universe is full of secrets, things that we can’t begin to fathom. Not only do I want to believe…I DO believe. Still, you need to give me evidence of some kind.
Hunt for the Skinwalker is a documentary from Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell (who has a pretty damn interesting story himself). It is based on the popular 2005 book, Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp (both of whom are interviewed extensively throughout). For those like me who haven’t heard of the place, it’s a 480-acre ranch next to the Ute Indian Reservation in the northeast corner of Utah. Literally thousands of phenomena have been reported there, ranging from UFO sightings to crop circles to cattle mutilations to poltergeist activity! One family that owned the property fled in terror after two years of escalating paranormal torture. From 1996 to 2004, an intensive study (funded by the US government to the tune of $22 million dollars) was done to get to the bottom of it all.
Hunt for the Skinwalker releases a chunk of the results of that study in the form of on-site footage, eye-witness interviews, local tales of the Ute Indians, and surveillance. According to head man George Knapp, though, there is, “so much I can’t speak about…I’m not allowed.” If the tales are to be believed, it is genuinely bone-chilling stuff and the Skinwalker Ranch (the name was trademarked in 2018) is a ridiculously active hotspot.
However, Hunt for the Skinwalker is no found-footage horror film à la The Last Broadcast or The Fear Footage. This is a legitimate documentary made with the help of respected scientists and experts in their fields. As such, there is no attempt at scare value being put forth. The idea is that there are “thin places” in our world where you can almost see through to other dimensions and all kinds of paranormal activity is commonplace. This isn’t a new theory; there are many places on Earth where people feel the space between us and whatever the other side is like paper. Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, The Bermuda Triangle…and The Skinwalker Ranch in the Uinta Valley.
Have you ever heard the saying “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong?”. It comes from an old album, but what it’s really come to mean is that there must be something there if that many people from all walks of life have seen it and felt it. You don’t earn that big of a reputation based on one easily dismissed incident.
By the end of its 2 hours and 7 minutes, you will have a lot of questions and will probably be all over the internet (as I was). I honestly can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. Hunt for the Skinwalker is a well-structured, thought-provoking documentary about one of America’s most active wonders. Still, it is a documentary that won’t have all the answers you are looking for. There are tons of compelling “50 million Elvis fans…” stories, but there is no smoking gun. If that’s what you’re looking for, then the effectiveness of this doc will be lost on you. Hunt for the Skinwalker will not go full Blair Witch on you. It treats the subject matter with gravity and respect.
But isn’t a good documentary (especially one about the paranormal) supposed to make you think? You should find yourself digging further into the mystery. After all, the question remains: Do you believe? Do you want to believe? Hunt for the Skinwalker will make you want to believe, even if you don’t already.