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John’s Horror Corner: Skinwalkers (2006), this werewolf horror-action movie feels more like it was a made-for-TV movie for the Hallmark Channel.

June 22, 2021

MY CALL:  For real, if you took a werewolf movie and sanitized it to barely being rated R for the Hallmark Channel, this would be it. Perhaps they only aired it after 10pm so they wouldn’t have to edit it for TV. Just to be clear, I despise this movie.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Skinwalkers: Well, for more and much better werewolf blood-feuding try Underworld (2003) and sequels. Blood Quantum (2019) likewise brings Native American heritage into the horror genre.

A Navajo bloodline that some call a gift, and others call a curse, has created a divide between two warring sides. And like Ultraviolet (2006) or Underworld: Awakening (2011), a coming-of-age child is the key to everything. But unlike Ultraviolet (2006) or Underworld: Awakening (2011), I never want to see Skinwalkers again.

Your lycanthropic cast of goodies and baddies: Jonas (Elias Koteas; Fallen, Let Me In, The Fourth Kind, The Haunting in Connecticut), Rachel (Rhona Mitra; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Doomsday, Skylines, Hard Target 2, Hollow Man), Nana (Barbara Gordon; Cube 2, The Silence), Katherine (Sarah Carter; Falling Skies, Final Destination 2, Wishmaster 3), Doak (Lyriq Bent; Saw II-IV), and Adam (Shawn Roberts; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Land of the Dead) are all protecting Timothy (Matthew Knight; The Grudge 2-3) from Varek (Jason Behr; The Grudge), Zo (Kim Coates; Sons of Anarchy, Innocent Blood, Fantasy Island, Resident Evil: Afterlife), Sonja (Natassia Malthe; Lake Placid, Disturbing Behavior).

From the opening scenes, the quality of the dialogue and acting harbingers something akin to a ScyFy Channel movie-of-the-week with a tossed-together script and minimal preparation. But this movie’s overall vibe is actually less ScyFy channel and, truly as weird as it sounds, more like a Hallmark Channel movie with werewolves and a very soft R-rating. It feels like a family movie… but with strangely tame gun fights in the streets of a quaint little town on a nice sunny day, and a pack of werewolf bikers that want to kill a young boy before the Red Moon.

This whole Red Moon prophecy regarding Tim’s 13th birthday is explained in devastatingly blatant expository dialogue, complete with the most phoned-in CGI werewolf transformation scenes I’ve seen after the year 2000. The werewolves are thankfully done with practical effects, and they aren’t exactly terrible even if closer to human-form than I’d prefer. The weakness of the werewolves is in the execution of their action scenes… wire stunt jumps, cheap action B-movie gags, randomly throwing people when it would make way more sense and be easier to just gash their guts open with their claws. There’s even a werewolf feeding scene split-montaged with a very sweaty, mostly human-form werewolf sex scene. The effort behind the filmmaking feels very color-by-numbers; this is essentially a Walmart generic brand Underworld (2003) without the vampires or anything remotely as cool as leather wardrobing or machine guns.

An attempted assassination followed by a gunfight in a hospital may sound like a good time to anyone who saw Blade (1998), but not in this movie. It’s a bore. And dear lord, when the film attempts a tense dramatic hostage standoff scene… I just… I just can’t. I don’t care about anything that happens in this stupid movie.

Director James Isaac (Jason X, Pig Hunt) has made some entertaining movies—but this is certainly not one of them. The finale is an extra-long werewolf versus werewolf fight scene. And somehow, there’s not an exciting moment to be found. Hard pass on this movie. HARD PASS!

MORE WEREWOLF MOVIES: The best werewolf movies would have to be An American Werewolf in London (1981; semi-humorous), Silver Bullet (1985), Ginger Snaps (2000; metaphoric), Dog Soldiers (2002; unconventional) and The Howling (1981; serious). 

If you want another utterly ridiculous werewolf movie, then move on to Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985), Howling 3: The Marsupials (1987) and Wolfcop (2014). 

And for more stylish werewolf movies The Company of Wolves (1984), Meridian (1990), Cursed (2005; cliché-loaded and contemporary), Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004), Wolf (1994), Wer (2013), The Wolfman (2010), An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), Late Phases (2014), Howl (2015), Raw (2016), Good Manners (2017; aka, As Boas Maneiras) and the Underworld movies (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012) are also worth a watch.

We could consider that Waxwork (1988), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Van Helsing (2004), Monster Squad (1987) and many others also feature werewolves, but not to such centerpiece extent that I’d call them “werewolf movies.”

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2021 10:08 pm

    Loved reading your review of this movie. Unfortunately I’ve already seen it so it wasn’t able to save me from all you mentioned above. Hopefully it’s not too late for others and they can spare themselves from what I referred to as hairy vampires. The only amazing thing about this movie was it was able to be so terrible with a somewhat pretty cool cast.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 23, 2021 7:10 pm

      Yeah. Back when it came out I was so skeptical I didn’t even trust it for the cast. Only recently was I lulled into a false sense of security on a FB Horror group.

      So, I actually bought this after I saw a post on a FB horror group about this film and everyone was saying good things about it. This baffled me because the trailer didn’t look promising AT ALL. So I buy it on Amazon and watch it and… WTF? I figured it was awful for a decade+, then got convinced otherwise only recently (by a LOT of kind comments on the post), and now despise it. Ugh

      • June 23, 2021 8:12 pm

        William of Ockham said something applicable. “If you think it sucks long enough you’re probably right so don’t buy it on Amazon.” Or something like that.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 24, 2021 8:01 pm

      Well, I thought that about The Poughkeepsie Tapes and ended up loving it. So there’s that.

  2. June 24, 2021 9:22 am

    I love the poster. I really want to watch it now lol.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 24, 2021 8:01 pm

      You’ve been warned hard and thoroughly. Considering watching this is like dancing on a mine field. lol

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