Are you tired of bad movies that are bad in the normal, boring ways? Then “Skinwalkers” could be the answer to your prayers!
“Skinwalkers” is bad in fun, laughable ways, and I’m not using “laughable” figuratively. I mean I literally laughed out loud at some of the things that happen in the film, things that were meant to be taken seriously. It’s the kind of ridiculous “horror” “thriller” that “Mystery Science Theater 3000” used to love: lots of odd-looking supporting characters, a meaty plot, and thick, chewy acting. Any movie in which someone fears for the safety of a loved one by declaring “They’ll torture him mercilessly!” is probably a bad one. But boring? Never!
Oh, where to start, where to start. There are two groups of werewolves, the good ones who have assimilated into human society and lock themselves up during the full moon so they don’t hurt anyone; and the bad ones who roam the woods and love devouring humans every chance they get. The bad ones, led by Varek (Jason Behr), are looking for a young boy who is the subject of an ancient prophecy that could spell doom for them all. They know the time is imminent because the moon is red, and nearly full.
They don’t know who the boy is, but we do! (He’s the only boy in the movie, so it’s not hard to pick him out.) His name is Tim (Matthew Knight), and he lives with his mother Rachel (Rhona Mitra) and her dead husband’s brother (Elias Koteas) in a small town. Tim’s father was a werewolf and his mother is normal, so when Tim turns 13 in a few days, he’ll have the ability to end “the curse” of the werewolves forever. Since the bad guys enjoy their lycanthropy, they don’t want the “curse” ended, hence their desire to find and kill him.
Except, um, Tim and his mom don’t know any of this. Fortunately, everyone else in town does, and everyone else in town is evidently a werewolf, too (the good kind). They’ve been expecting the bad guys to come looking for Tim — which is why, when Varek and his gang do arrive, every person in town has a shotgun handy with which to engage in a shootout in the middle of Main Street. This includes Tim’s grandmother, I kid you not.
Thus begins a battle between the good wolves and the bad wolves … or between the small groups representing each side, anyway. There’s not much indication that this epic struggle affects more than about 10 people, which makes the movie seem even more lightweight than it is. The fact that the climax takes place in an abandoned warehouse — that most cliched of showdown locales — is further evidence that director James Isaac (“Jason X”) and his trio of writers weren’t trying very hard here.
So the movie’s no good — but I don’t hate it, either. Most bad movies are aggressively bad, or irritating in some way. Most bad movies are boring. “Skinwalkers” is predictable overall, but it’s certainly not dull. You’ll laugh and roll your eyes, but at least you won’t be annoyed. It’s silly and it takes itself too seriously, and it looks like it should have gone direct to DVD. It’s lousy, but hey, no hard feelings.
C- (1 hr., 28 min.; )