August 16, 2007


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Skinwalkers (PG-13)
Conscience-having non-carnivorous werewolves wait for their teenage savior while omnivorous evil werewolves hunt the boy who could destroy them in Skinwalkers, a hilarious horror movie starring (if you can call it that) the male lead from Roswell and a woman best known for playing a hot girl on David E. Kelley shows (Boston Legal, The Practice) and a crazy police investigator on one season of Nip/Tuck.

Also starring Elias Koteas, most recently well known for being the villain who rather spectacularly gets his due at the end of Shooter. His main skill seems to be an uncanny resemblance to Christopher Meloni, of Oz and Law & Order: SVU fame.

Box office gold!

Rachel (former Nip/Tuck-er Rhona Mitra) might look like a pouty-lipped Kelley player but she’s really just a concerned mom trying to care for her asthmatic son Timothy (Matthew Knight). After nearly 13 years of raising her son in a creepily small town filled with the relatives of her dead husband (who, though she doesn’t know it, are all werewolves, as was her husband), she kinda wants to break out on her own. The townsfolk don’t come out and say it but there’s no way they’re letting her go. After all, Timothy is the boy meant to fulfill a prophecy which says that a boy will, on his 13th birthday, receive the power to cure the werewolf curse.

But while Timothy’s townsfolk call their monthly visits from Aunt Hairy a curse (the full moon chases them down into their basements wherein they truss themselves up in leather harness things — since most of the characters here are pushing 60, the resulting image is of a super-kinky meeting of the bridge club), there are other wolves out there who think of their animal tendencies as totally awesome. (Strangely, they also wear leather, but their outfits are more of the bad-ass-metal-video-circa-1987 variety.) Vareck (Jason “alien king on Roswell” Behr) is their leader and he wants no part of a so-called cure. He wants to frolic with his slutty weregirlfriend and cause hard-rock-scored trouble.

Faster than you can say “Michael J. Fox vs. Jason Bateman” the bad wolves find the good wolves (in a scene reminiscent of the end of Hot Fuzz, the entire town walks around armed with high-power weaponry) and it’s a three-day chase to get Timothy to his 13th birthday wherein a motorcycle riding half-giant (or maybe just something in his blood) will give him the power to defang both friend and foe.

In one of the many wolf-on-wolf altercations in this movie, a good wolf sacrifices himself to fight a bad wolf (once a good wolf tastes human or werewolf blood he goes evil). After considerable biting and clawing, the good wolf dies, giving Timothy a sad look and a sorrowful howl. Technically, I think this was supposed to be a heart-wrenching moment, a hero expressing, even with his bloodshot eyes that denote his recent turn to evil and his many fatal wounds, that he still cared for the boy. Despite the pathos of this moment, all I could think of were those sound clips of dogs, like the one sampled at the beginning of the Beastie Boys’ “Sure Shot,” barking “I love you,” or rather “Ry ruve Rou.” Yes, young Timothy, your werewolf protector gave his life to keep you alive until midnight on your birthday but he did it happily because he ruved rou.

It’s times like these that I’m glad I don’t buy Junior Mints at the movie theater. I might choke to death on one laughing so hard. D

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language. Directed by James Isaac and written by James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan and James Roday Skinwalkers is an hour and 50 minutes long and is distributed in limited release by Lionsgate and After Dark Films.