James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan and James Roday
Jason Behr as Varek
Elias Koteas as Jonas
Rhona Mitra as Rachel
Kim Coates as Zo
Natassia Malthe as Sonja
Matthew Knight as Timothy
By Horror Queen
Now here’s a film that had some real potential, drawing loosely from the Navajo legend of “skinwalkers”, modern-day werewolves that only a young half-breed werewolf named Timothy can save and make fully human once again. Here’s the clincher: he must do this on his thirteenth birthday. Some kids have parties, some Bar Mitzvahs, our Timmy has to end an ancient curse for all of mankind. Hopefully he gets to go on Larry King Live.
The Skinwalkers challenge is some of the werewolves don’t actually want to be saved – they are “like drug addicts” points out one of the films “good werewolves”, Jonas, but their addiction is immortality and the lust of blood. The “bad werewolves” are trying to stop Tim from fulfilling his destiny and ending the curse. Can the good werewolves and a group of concerned small town citizens protect Tim up until his birthday? We kind of hope so…but at this point we could go either way.
Speaking of small towns, how everyone kept the werewolf thing a secret from Tim and his mother Rachel up until now is a mystery given most of the townspeople are good werewolves that enter into “lockdown” once a month when the moon is full and they would otherwise be out snackin’ on their friends and families. Didn’t Tim and Rachel often wonder “where is everyone tonight?” or, “why does Uncle Jonas keep bondage gear in the cellar?”
Yet despite the obvious questions, we still arguably have the mixins of a decent horror recipe. Unfortunately good ingredients do not always a satisfying meal make, and Skinwalkers with it’s lack of character development and other problems eventually proves too off the mark for Horror Queen’s palate.
More on the small town though. It’s quainter than quaint, although one may imagine Navajo Tribe Members living west in the desert, and this looks more like a New England town in the fall – wide streets lined with little brick shops and colorful trees. It’s on a corner in this town where the bad werewolves come face to face with the good werewolves in…ah here’s where the west comes in…an old fashioned O.K. Corral-type shootout?? Yes, an odd twist, and when the bad guys come out guns-a-blazin’, even little ol’ grandma turns out to be packing heat. Luckily everyone is a lousy shot and our posse gets away, however sans sweet cousin Katherine who is taken captive by the bad werewolves. Don’t worry, she returns later but can you guess what’s changed about her? Let’s just say she will need a bigger razor.
And here’s something interesting. If one were a werewolf, it might indeed be a tough choice – whether or not to transition into a full-time human being OR live an immortal life filled with regular sex and carnage (in one scene in Skinwalkers these are strangely combined). After all wasn’t it Ernest Hemingway who said:
“Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted…men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.”
So there you have it. The hunter and the hunted. The yin and the yang. And although Horror Queen can’t tell you who eventually wins out inSkinwalkers (Horror Queen doesn’t actually know who wins out as the ending is as unclear as it is anticlimactic), you probably won’t care anyway.