Writer: James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan, James Roday (Screenplay)
Starring: Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Natassia Malthe, Kim Coates, Sarah Carter, Tom Jackson
Plot: A 12 year old boy and his mother become the targets of two warring werewolf packs, each with different intentions and motives.
Tagline – For them to live, we must die.
Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Werewolf 101
Story: Skinwalkers starts as Varek (Behr) leads the hunt for a young boy for his werewolf pack, joined by Sonja (Malthe) he learns the location of Timothy (Knight) which takes him to small town to collect him.
Varek didn’t count on Timothy being under the watch of another prepared werewolf pack led by Jonas (Koteas) and his daughter-in-law Rachel (Mitra) who wasn’t ready to learn the truth that on Tim’s 13th birthday everything changes in the battle.
Thoughts on Skinwalkers
Characters – Varek is the leader of the werewolf pack that wants Timothy dead to stop the event he will cause, he hunts calmly through the film knowing how to get ahead of his enemies, though he is unaware of his connection to the child. Jonas has been protecting his nephew for years now, knowing what he means to the species, he has built the team his truss around him to make sure he is safe. Rachel is the mother of Timothy, she thinks he is just a normal kid and that she lives in a normal town, he must learn fast how to cope in this world filled with werewolves and protect her son. Sonja is the deadliest fighter on Varek side of the war, she enjoys hurting people and we see her take pleasure in this.
Performances – Jason Behr as the conflicted werewolf is good to watch, he shines on the bad boy side of this story, though when he must show the other side of the emotions we see him struggle at times. Elias Koteas is strong for his role which is one that we often see him in. Rhona Mitra does well in the reluctant heroes being the strong need to learn to battle mother figure in the film. everyone else in the film is fine without needing to be anything special, they fit their roles well to help the story flow.
Story – The story here follows two warring werewolf packs that know the importance of a child for both their existences, so basically something we have seen before only with a modern style to it. The fact the story does feel like an introduction to a much big world building idea is promising and while it isn’t the film’s fault we didn’t see the next chapter, it does show us how story telling can think ahead of time. If we are being honest this is a by the book storyline, it doesn’t bring us anything new to the werewolf mythology it just tries to keep it in the modern world.
Action/Fantasy/Horror – The action sequences are mixed bag because we have shoot-out which are routine and lack the peril for certain characters, while the fights show the effects that two werewolves fighting would have on each other. The fantasy world of werewolves living among humans is nicely done, showing two sides to them, though the horror does seem weak because we never feel terrified by what we are seeing.
Settings – The film uses the settings in a mix of quality and generic, the small town gets the big surprise with everyone being part of the protection, then we hit the road and its nothing we haven’t seen before.
Special Effects – The effects for the werewolves and wounds look nice, its just most are hidden from the full effect of the shock.
Final Thoughts –This is a by the book werewolf film, it has good moments, it has forgettable moments and ends up feeling like the pilot for a television show.
Overall: The werewolf genre done safely.