Horror review: Skinwalkers



Skinwalkers is about two gangs of werewolves, one good and one bad. Elias Koteas stars as Joshua, leader of the nice, family-oriented werewolves who, when a full moon approaches, bind themselves up in leather harnesses so they don’t harm anyone. Jason Behr from The Grudge and TV’s Roswell stars as Varek, leader of the nasty, biker-type werewolves, who are only too keen to unleash their raging bloodlust. The two groups are drawn into bloody conflict because their fates hinge on the 13th birthday of Joshua’s innocent nephew Timothy (Matthew Knight).

Yeah, the story sucks.

NRA members will love Skinwalkers, though; there’s so much gunplay you almost forget it’s a werewolf flick. At one point, in the midst of a frenzied firefight, Timothy’s straight-shooting grandma (Barbara Gordon) tosses him a huge silver revolver and says it’s time he learned how to load it. The sound-effects crew outdoes itself sexing up the sound of rounds being chambered and shotguns pumped for action.

It’s obvious at times that Skinwalkers tries to emulate Kathryn Bigelow’s awesome vampire western Near Dark especially when the evil werewolves patronize a divey redneck bar to snack on would-be rapists but without kickass character actors like Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen onboard, it ain’t the same. Tom Jackson may be a Canadian icon as far as Native actors go, but here his subdued role as the wise old Indian looking out for the noble werewolf clan is a total cliché.

The film is directed by Jim Isaacs, the guy responsible for sending Jason Voorhees into space with the unwatchable Jason X. He brings the same level of shamelessness to this corny outing, especially in scenes like the one where Timothy repeatedly hits on a bimbo nurse. “Don’t be a stranger!” the twerp flirts from his hospital bed, while his mother (Rhona Mitra) looks on in shock and the men exchange knowing glances.


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