In the vein of Underworld, here is another tale of warring supernatural societies. In this case, both sides are werewolves (the “skinwalkers” of the title). The good guys seek to protect a 13-year-old boy who represents a cure for lycanthropy. The bad guys, who like turning into monsters, want to kill him to protect themselves. The weapons of choice in this battle? Fangs, you guess. Nuh-uh. Guns.
Yep, also in the vein of Underworld, gunplay is much more popular than monster mashes, but this effort makes its inspiration look like a masterpiece. The big showpiece gun battle (anatomized at length in one of the features) is a spectacular example of unintentional camp, whose highlight is the Sergio Leone-style drawdown between chief nasty Jason Behr and the boy’s grandmother. You read that right. In a stunning bit of blazing originality, the boy is also asthmatic. Sigh. Add in painfully expository dialogue and an almost total absence of transformed werewolves (who, when they do show up, are in no way worth the wait), and what you have here is a waste of time, which, fortunately, only robs you of just under 90 minutes, and not the 110 threatened on the case.
Given the dismal entertainment, you probably won’t care much about the audio, but if you’re looking for small mercies, the track is pretty nifty. The sound effects create a pretty convincing sense of environment. The music is especially well handled, with a very nice distribution front and rear for the mix. This isn’t to say you can just sit back and listen to the film (the dialogue is too painful in its content for that), but from a technical point of view, the package is undeniably slick.
Much the same is true for the picture quality. Though the digital tomfoolery done to create atmosphere also has the effect of making some scenes a bit murkier than necessary, the colours are generally rich, and the blacks are absolutely superb. The image is sharp, and there is no grain or edge enhancement, so things are looking pretty nice, all in all.
Director Jim Isaac’s commentary takes us through the film’s long gestation period, and does all the expected praising of all concerned. The making-of featurette is standard issue. The aforementioned shootout sequence gets the royal treatment, as one can view it simultaneously with its animatic (your choice as to which gets the big picture, and which the PIP). The animatic by itself also has a commentary track by producer Dennis Berardi, who also chimes in for the digital FX comparisons featurette. There are also eight deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, and plenty of ads for other new releases.
Ginger Snaps was the last really fine werewolf film. This effort doesn’t change that.