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SKEW
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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Sevé Schelenz

Starring:
Rob Scattergood
Amber Lewis
Richard Olak

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Three friends go on a road trip, and with a video camera constantly on, creepy shite starts happening, people start mysteriously dying, and friendships are pushed to the limit in this "found footage" fright flick.
Is it good movie?
On the one hand I'm getting really sick of the whole found footage approach. Most times the camera is so poorly handled that I'm reaching for the barf bag instead of the popcorn. But this movie had enough depth and enough creep to keep me intrigued, and the camera was pretty steady for the most part. It plays out as more of a slowly revealed mystery than an outright scare flick, as the audience is left wondering just what the f*ck is going on, all the while being blindsided by creepy visuals and seemingly random deaths (well, random corpses, as most of the murders happen off camera). And the mysteries about each of the characters, and the camera itself, are what generates the majority of the tension in this movie. It will probably take repeated viewings to get the whole picture, as every single element of the movie is laced with clues as to the backstory of the characters, and how the climax of the movie will play out.

So basically Simon picks up an old camcorder at a second hand shop, and decides to film their entire road trip to a friend's wedding. Along for the ride are his best friend Rich and the best friend's girlfriend, Eva, who at first comes off as a frosty, standoffish bitch. His constant filming is annoying, and his friends tell him so repeatedly. Then Simon starts noticing that some people's faces are all distorted and twisted in the camera. It was a nice J-Horror touch that was jarring and memorable. Well, I'll leave it at that and avoid any big spoilers. Then there's the question of Simon and why he never calls his girlfriend Laura from the road, and whether or not he's in love with Eva, because with his camera work it's clear he's pretty obsessed with her (and who wouldn't be, the camera absolutely loves actress Amber Lewis). And as the characters get more real and fleshed out, their deeper motivations are revealed, and it turns out Eva is the most complex of the three. Loved her role. In fact the acting overall was quite great, with the exceptions of some of Rich's more angry moments, I just wasn't buying into it and it seemed a little forced. But all told the characters were well fleshed out, the pace was slow at first and then tight closer to the end, the scares were creepy and memorable, and the flick was shot with some skill which should save a few stomachs.

By the climax of the film, you'd think you've got it figured out and all the pieces are in place, but you're still left wondering why all this bad juju went down. Then the final scene comes, with a rewind of the camera to before the movie started. And it's a kicker, folks. It was a great way to cap off the movie, and in a blink or you'll miss it moment, director Sevé Schelenz creeped the ever loving crap out of me. The DVD box copy doesn't lie, it's a movie that sticks with you long after watching it, pondering mysteries and creeping out to the final reveal. There's not much more I can say without giving away too much, only if you get the chance, watch this movie!
Video / Audio
Video: Standard 16:9 Widescreen.

Audio: English.
The Extras
While I don't know what features will be on the final retail DVD, the Digital Press Kit included with this screener was packed with info and pictures in a variety of formats. And there is a Trailer on the main disc.
Last Call
Shot in 2005 before the current glut of camcorder movies, Skew is a tense and mysterious thriller with some Japanese scary overtones and no small amount of dread. Great performances, able camera work, cool effects, many many clues, and a killer reveal of an ending, it's a terrifying movie that holds it's cards close to its chest, and then doles out the creep like it was orchestrated by a master. It gives you that queasy feeling you get when you know something horrific is going to happen, it's just a matter of when and where. Very nicely done! Not hard to see why it racked up some impressive festival credits and premieres along the indie horror circuit. I'd say this one is highly recommended, but your tastes may vary.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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