Skinwalkers

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Skinwalkers Movie Poster Image
Silly werewolf tale is violent but boring.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 110 minutes

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Kids say

age 18+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The difference between the good and bad werewolves is that the first group represses their urges by chaining themselves up once a month, while the bad ones want to eat everyone.

Violence

Lots of insinuated, darkly shadowed, silhouetted violence, with dripping blood a repeated effect. Wounded bodies appear in various contortions, including hanging upside down and arrayed as if crucified. Boy has repeated nightmare flashes (a "home invasion" scenario in which his father is dragged away). Werewolves attack victims with lots of growling, leaping, and flesh-ripping sounds. Shooting sprees galore: When werewolves aren't tearing at human flesh, they're shooting at one another. Werewolves' transformations (hair sprouting, noses growing, etc.) are violent and alarming to a young boy who witnesses them changing. Heroes' truck flips over violently. Following her kidnapping, Kat is left hanging in the woods, emulating a bloody crucifixion.

Sex

Female werewolf shows cleavage and midriff; sex scene between Sonja and Varek might be a transition from a rape/attack on a female saloon patron, but the scenes are poorly edited, so it's hard to tell -- at any rate, the sex shows sweaty-chested, bloody-faced Varek looking triumphant.

Language

Mild and pretty infrequent language includes "goddamn," "s--t," "screw this, "little prick," and "What the hell is happening?"

Consumerism

GMC pickup truck.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bar scene shows beer and liquor being served.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this dark, poorly edited horror movie has plenty of violence, including multi-gun shootouts, careening cars, and werewolf attacks (bloody, shredding flesh, usually in deep shadow). The narrator, a nearly 13-year-old boy, has a difficult relationship with relatives that he's just discovered are werewolves (the fact that they've lied to him his whole life creates a lot of tension). A female werewolf shows cleavage and midriff as she chomps on her victims; some beer and liquor is shown in a bar scene. Language is relatively mild, including several "hells" and fewer uses of both "s--t" and "damn."

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byyoda1494 February 5, 2013

Great

Great movie

What's the story?

Young narrator Tim (Matthew Knight) has mixed blood; he's part werewolf and part human. According to a hazy prophecy, when he turns 13 (three days after the film starts), something will happen. Either bad werewolves will be able to rampage at will, or the curse will be lifted from all. Trouble is, Tim and his human mom, Rachel (Rhona Mitra), are clueless. Only Uncle Jonas (Elias Koteas) understands what's going on when the moon turns red and the bad werewolves ride into town on motorcycles. He, his mother Nana (Barbara Gordon), his daughter Kat (Sarah Carter), and assorted other "good" werewolves know that they need to shoot at scruffy-faced Varek (Jason Behr) and his alarmingly cleavaged girlfriend Sonja (Natassia Malthe). Once the action commences, Tim learns to load weapons and help his family fight the bad werewolves, but Rachel is disinclined to fight.

Is it any good?

The good werewolves aren't sympathetic, and the bad werewolves aren't especially frightening. This, in addition to their very shadowy appearances, makes director Jim Isaac's "horror" movie rather boring. There's quite a lot of shooting; the sound of bullets being fired punctuates the human-to-wolfish transformations. But only occasionally does anyone hit a target -- which means that the shooting scenes go on and on. The werewolf attacks, on the other hand, leave victims shredded and bloody, unable to continue battling.

In the end, of course, there's a showdown -- good werewolves versus bad. As this scene finds all the werewolf characters speechless (though very growly), Tim and Rachel must figure out their own mission, and how to make their family unit work. Sadly, the movie has at this point become so disjointed that you won't be worrying about them anymore. Maybe the confusion emulates Tim's sudden, frightening shift into responsibility -- lycanthropy as metaphor. Or maybe it's just shoddy filmmaking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's family dynamic. How does his relatives' lifelong lie affect Tim? Does it have a greater impact on him because of his age (13 is tricky even without monsters)? What kinds of revelations could affect real-life kids just as much? Families can also discuss the differences between the male and female werewolves. What sets them apart from each other? What characteristics are typical for TV and movie werewolves? Do these werewolves stick to the pattern?

Movie details

  • In theaters: August 10, 2007
  • On DVD or streaming: November 27, 2007
  • Cast: Elias Koteas, Jason Behr, Rhona Mitra
  • Director: Jim Isaac
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language.

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