Skinwalkers (2006)

Skinwalkers is a 2006 film directed by James Isaac. The story is fairly straightforward, with there being a werewolf curse, and a boy who, when he turns 13, is able to end it for good. There are some werewolves who do not want the curse to end though, and decide that they are going to kill the boy at some point in the 4 days before his 13th birthday. There are other werewolves who want the curse to end, as they are tired of having to transform every so often, and they have decided to protect the boy at all costs, so that he may end the curse forever. Neither the boy, Tim, (Matthew Knight), or his mother Rachel, (Rhona Mitra), know that any of this is going on, until they find out after their small town is attacked by the werewolves set up to look like the bad guys.

I’m still not quite sure what to think of Skinwalkers. For the most part, it is entertaining, with an interesting, albeit paper-thin plot. However, it is really silly, and doesn’t really have much going on beneath the surface. It pretty much is just a good werewolf vs. bad werewolf battle, with a child taking the place of a magical item, book, prophecy or anything else that you could fight over. It’s just seems a bit too silly to really take seriously, and this does not play in the film’s favor. It’s also worth noting that the ending doesn’t really make a shred of sense. I don’t want to go quite so far as to say that it is one of the worst endings ever, but it was quite a let-down, to say the least.

Skinwalkers was actually billed as an action-horror film, which really seems kind of odd to me. There is some attempt at horror in the first 20 minutes, but the film quickly abandons this in favor of the latter part of the genre it was billed to be. The vast majority of the film takes the ‘action’ route in order to be entertaining, and for the most part, this works. There aren’t really all that many times where you’ll get bored, and this means that the fairly weak plot will usually manage to be forgotten about.

When action isn’t occurring, and horror isn’t being attempted, something needs to fill the time. This is where the character development usually comes across. That is something that Skinwalkers pretty much skips out on. None of the characters change throughout the film, save for one event that happens right at the end of the film. Character depth scrapes the bottom of the barrel, with each character having a primary motivation, and pretty much nothing else. This is too bad, because exploring how it actually would be to live as a werewolf in disguise is something that I’d actually like to see explored.

What really seems odd about the film is the fact that, despite being a werewolf film, werewolves don’t actually feature all that prominently. Apart from a couple of times where they get chained up in order to prevent their feeding, and a large-scale, over the top fight near the end, most of the action scenes have normal looking people with guns shooting at one another. I would think that would be disappointing, but the time we do get to see werewolves fighting one another, the film’s quality takes a big dip.

This dip in quality is largely due to the fact that the werewolves in the film look incredibly silly. They looked bad enough to actually take me out of the film, and make me wonder what it was that I was actually watching. It really looked that bad. By the end, I was really thankful that they didn’t actually show the werewolves all that often. In fact, if the ending was switched around a bit, the werewolf curse could have easily been replaced with any other type of monster plague, and it still could have been just as effective in accomplishing what it wanted to.

I know I’ve mostly had negative things to say about Skinwalkers, but for some reason, it still managed to keep me entertained. It’s cheesy, lacking depth, and the plot doesn’t really matter all that much. But, for some reason, I enjoyed myself for the most part while watching it. I suppose it’s a mixed bag, full of a lot of fun action scenes, but hampered by the fact that none of it really matters, and the fact that it won’t stay with you long after finishing it.

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