I tried giving this flick a real chance, as I’m always open to a good werewolf movie instead of more goth-industrial vampires. But there was just no salvaging this one. It’s incredibly dull, takes itself way too seriously with phony drama and mythology crap, and is overall just a joyless 90 minutes. The acting is strictly made-for-TV, with Jason Behr pretending he’s Lorenzo Lamas. Rhona Mitra, Natassia Malthe and Sarah Carter are easy on the eyes, but that’s about it. And I like Elias Koteas (he was Casey Jones, after all...), but his character lost me around the time he too eagerly abandoned his daughter after she got taken hostage. (He literally says, “Screw this!” and leaves.)
I’m guessing SKINWALKERS never had a chance past the script stage, but Jim Isaac, director of the much more fun JASON X, doesn’t help any. The pack of motorcycle riding outlaw werewolves come off as pathetic. (A surefire way to make werewolves uncool—dress them completely in denim.) The action sequences are poorly choreographed, especially one of the more boring and laughable shootouts I can remember, mainly because it involved an 80 year old woman who had no business being within ten feet of a shotgun. The PG-13 rating also never allows SKINWALKERS to fully embrace its premise, i.e. you miss out on any potentially good blood and gore.
Probably the only thing that would pique your curiosity enough to watch this is to see the Stan Winston-created werewolves. Unfortunately, the lycan makeup looks like it belongs on the WB channel. I don’t know if someone else did the makeup and Winston just signed off on it, but it was uncreative and poorly executed, which Isaac admirably tries to cover up by shaking the camera vigorously to make things exciting.
There is one decent plot twist thrown in halfway through, but then, like everything else, the filmmakers fail to capitalize on it. Aside from that, the only other good part about SKINWALKERS is that it ended up being 20 minutes shorter than the running time listed on the box.
Making SKINWALKERS (8:35): An average behind the scenes featurette made worse by unnecessary narration and useless interviews. “This is a story about people who are werewolves and people who are human…” Thank you, Sarah Carter, for clearing that up.
Huguenot Shootout Previz Sequence (20:13): I’d almost rather watch the crappy animated version.
Digital FX Comparisons (1:21): Nothing to write home about, although some of the digital stuntmen had me fooled.
Deleted Scenes (5:33): Mostly more scene pre-werewolf attack, which was the boring stuff.
Theatrical Trailer and Previews.
Extra Tidbit: SKINWALKERS was co-written by James Roday, the star of the funny TV show "Psych." Maybe this movie was his ultimate joke on the audience.