Skinwalkers Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Signature Entertainment
Directed by Devin McGinn
Written by Adam Ohler
2013, 86 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 24th February 2014
Taylor Bateman as Rebecca
Steve Berg as Sam
Michael Black as Britton Sloan
Erin Cahill as Lisa
A team of paranormal investigators looks into the disappearance of a cattle rancher’s 10 year old son. Of course they insist on bringing their video cameras with them, because no film with ‘paranormal’ in the synopsis is complete without a little found footage these days. This time, though, with UFOs.
The title conjures up such delightful imagery as werewolves, a bit of nudity, shape-shifting and maybe even some pornography. None of the above is depicted in Skinwalkers, which is more interested in aliens, ghosts and spooky little boys running around the kitchen. The footage being comprised of handheld camcorders and security footage from around the farm, it’s almost everything you’d expect from the subgenre. The little boy in the kitchen and a bit with a dog in a barn is reasonably spooky, but everything else is instantly forgettable.
Just another in a long procession of found footage horror films, it’s not long before Skinwalkers begins to bleed into the rest of chaff, indistinguishable in my mind from everything else from the subgenre I’ve watched recently (V/H/S 2 aside). I hate to be repetitive, but all of the clichés are there, from the footage breaking up whenever one of the rubbish CGI aliens appears, through to a finale set in a pitch black cave. With a ‘real life’ story that takes in UFOs, cattle mutilation and crop circles, there is room for Skinwalkers to do something a little different, but it never does.
Even the recent Unidentified (which I actively loathed) did something slightly different with its alien road trip, and The Fourth Kind is distinguished by having Milla Jovovich in it. Apollo 18 is set on the moon and shows its beasties for more than a few frames. Skinwalkers has and does none of those things. It’s one of the most undistinguished horror films I have ever seen (a distinction in itself, I suppose). I hate to be dismissive of an entire subgenre, but when you’ve seen upwards of twenty horror films with exactly the same plot, scares and writing (often in the same order of execution) it’s hard not to be cynical. As it is, I feel as though I’ve seen the same film remade multiple times, with no sign of stopping. And it wasn’t that good in the first place. Like a Saw sequel.
If you’ve not seen many films of this ilk - or happen to enjoy the subgenre for some reason – you may enjoy Skinwalkers. It’s technically proficient, well-acted and occasionally spooky, with an interesting concept. Unfortunately, so are the swathes of films like it. It throws everything it has at the wall, but none of it sticks. A found footage film with no legs, Skinwalkers is far from out of this world.