A ChucksConnection Film Review


Matthew Knight wears black high top Converse “Chuck Taylor” All Stars in the film.

Skin Walkers

By Brandon L. Summers


Timothy walks with Doak

Timothy walks with Doak.


Skinwalkers begins with a backstory in text, something about Indian mysticism (its an actual Navajo legend) and a small race of werewolves, and a prophecy about a 13-year-old half-blood who on his birthday, under the red moon, will be the end of the so-called Skin Walkers. This does not bode well with the bad Skin-Walkers, who begin the film by hunting and killing one of their own. You can tell they’re bad guys because they wear sunglasses, leather, and ride motorcycles. Hell’s Hounds! Led by Varek (Jason Behr), this obviously evil gang ruthlessly pursues the “chosen one,” whom they know by name, and just need his location.


Timothy hides behind a mail truck during the attack

Timothy hides behind a mail truck during the attack.


Meanwhile, Timothy Talbot (Matthew Knight) lives an idyllic small town suburban life with his single mom, Rachel (Rhona Mitra). Timothy has asthma and is frail. The whole town, of the four other cast members, is suspiciously concerned about Timothy’s health, including friendly Jonas (the great Elias Koteas) and Doak (bland Lyriq Bent). One day, Varek’s biker gang of wolf people shows up in town with their large, nickel-plated guns, having located “the chosen one.” A shootout follows, with big guns and posing. Jonas and friends, even Timothy’s Nana (Barbara Gordon) reveal themselves to Rachel and Timothy as their guardian angels who have been protecting Timothy in anticipation of his birthday, just hours from now.


Timothy's grandmother helps fend off the attack

Timothy’s grandmother helps fend off the attack by the evil Skinwalkers.


“We call ourselves Skinwalkers,” Jonas explains. “And who are they?” Rachel asks. “Skinwalkers. But they’re not like us.” Jonas explains they are werewolves. The good ones strap themselves into elaborate (actually kind of cool) harnesses and wait out the transformation while the bad ones satisfy their canine urges, always going mad in the feeding. They take Timothy to the hospital, where we learn several things: Timothy has weird blood, that Varek and Jonas... are brothers! And, that Varek... is Timothy’s father! (whom Rachel thought was dead.)


Grandma tells Timothy to run and hide

Grandma tells Timothy to run and hide.


Our heroes escape in their mystery mobile, while the villains follow behind on their motorcycles, obeying all posted speed limits. On the road, in the interim, Jonas’s daughter who was kidnapped is turned, becoming a lusty baby doll (ooh, daddy, being evil is soooo yummy). She eats her fiance and Jonas has to kill her. They end up in a warehouse, hours from midnight and Timothy’s birthday (It’s never the birth hour, it’s always the first minute of that day, isn’t it?). The lone good wolfman wards off the three evil biker wolfmen. The film has been leading up to this werewolf fight and the prophecy, and completely fails. Aside from the un-amazing wolf effects (the CGI is worst than the cut-rate A Sound of Thunder), this ending is just ill-conceived. SPOILERS. Varek bites a self-sacrificing Timothy, and it turns out the boy’s blood cures being a skin-walker! And that’s it. Varek and Rachel get back together, apparently, and the film ends with a wacky comedy beat.


Timothy is carried to safety out of the hospital

Timothy is carried to safety out of the hospital.


Skinwalkers is another example of a movie whose writer put more thought into an elaborate backstory a la Star Wars or The Matrix, than the actual story of the film, content instead to contrive action beats, faux kick-ass scenes (sunglasses!) and a bloated special effects ending. Only, in this case, the mythology is also extremely weak. And does every damn wolf person have to be named Talbot! The film is also uproarious, inspiring endless fits of incredulous laughter. The producers clearly lost confidence in their film and shelved it for a year while they took it to hacks for post-production. The end result is a barrage of hacky gimmicks like spinning cameras, loud buzzes and shock cuts, and tinting that looks false. The special effects are The Asylum bad. You won’t be surprised that this is from the director of Jason X. If you like any of that sort of thing, though, this will be a hidden treasure for you. The one element I enjoyed was Elias Koteas, as I always do. He’s a wonderful actor. The poor guy clearly had no idea what to do with the role. He had to be fatherly, an agressive protector, an animal, a warrior. He hits the middle ground all actors with no direction find, listless weariness. I didn’t care for anybody else. Jason Behr from D-Wars (as Koteas’s brother!) and Rhona Mitra are not great actors, and I’ve always regarded Kim Coates as one of the worst actors ever. Period. They’re all mediocre in this film. Inexplicably, the film was co-written by James Roday, star of “Psych”, who also wrote that series’s werewolf episode Let’s Get Hairy.


Even Timothy's mom fights against the other Skin Walkers

Even Timothy’s mom fights against the other Skin Walkers.


Best Chucks Scene


Timothy has to take a gun in his own defense

Timothy has to take a gun in his own defense.


Timothy, after an extreme fight, drops his weapon and we see the shot of it falling to the ground at his black high top chucks-clad feet.


Timothy running away to a safe hiding place

Timothy running away to a safe hiding place.


ALSO, in the “awesome” shootout between biker werewolves and grandma, Timothy scrambles to a safe hiding place.

 

Skinwalkers. (2006) Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Matthew Knight, Rhona Mitra, Natssia Mathe, Kim Coates, Sarah Carter, Tom Jackson.
Directed by James Isaac. Category: Horror.
ChucksConnection Rating: 2.5 chucks ratingMPAA Rating: PG-13

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