August 11, 2007

Skinwalkers bites the big one

Review:  SkinwalkersTwo movie storylines that must fight the temptation to include stilted dialogue are the werewolf picture and the Native American tale. Skinwalkers is a rare hybrid featuring Native Americans who turn into werewolves, and seems to have given up from the get-go at any attempt to portray naturalistic speech. “Not in this lifetime,” is a typical comeback when one character makes unreasonable demands on another. “They are going to torture her,” another remarks, adding helpfully, “mercilessly.” Also, no one uses contractions.

The title invites confusion with John Woo’s Windtalkers, which also features First Nations people, albeit without the shapeshifting. But it’s closer in tone to Pathfinder, the recent film about a lone wolf (not a werewolf) fighting a Viking incursion on North American soil some 800 years ago. This one is set in the present day, and imagines a subset of natives who periodically turn into slavering beasts. Some of them are good werewolves, and dutifully strap themselves down each full moon so they don’t hurt anyone. Others—let’s call them misanthropic lycanthropes—have developed a taste for human blood and enjoy their monthly hunting.
Jason Behr Talks About the Horror/Thriller Skinwalkers

Skinwalkers is based on Navajo legends. How does that set it apart from other werewolf movies?“Well most of the werewolf stories and mythologies that we’ve seen before in cinema are Eastern European werewolves, and this is based on Native American folklore. The Navajo Skinwalker is said to be able to take the pelt of an animal, the skin of any animal, and put it on and become that animal--be it a bear, or a hawk, or deer, or the wolf. And I think that was the impetus for the writers to create an extended mythology on what it would be like for one of these people who would put on this wolf skin to become addicted to that power, and to that freedom. That was sort of like the genesis of this mythology.”Skinwalkers (2007)

A Werewolf War in Need of a Silver BulletEverything hinges on a 12-year-old asthmatic named Timothy (Matthew Knight), a “half-blood” whose human single mother, Rachel (Rhona Mitra), clearly hit the jackpot for unhealthy relationship choices. Should Timothy survive his 13th birthday—well, the writers aren’t quite sure, but it could be bad. Or perhaps not.

Yawningly directed by Jim Isaac, “Skinwalkers” is a slavering mess that buries its clunky addiction metaphor beneath a welter of genre clichés, all delivered in extra-slow motion. Surpassingly ugly—every frame appears to have been marinated in ditch water, then dragged through a thicket—and with a soundtrack that suggests feeding time at the pound, the movie strains for terror and achieves only confusion.

1 comment:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Sounds pretty bad. all right. It didn't even open in OKC yet, either. As in the usual cliche, writerfella will avoid this one like the plague...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'