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February 27, 2012

FMWL Indie Spotlight - Skew

(2011, Dir. by Seve Schelenz.)

The crowd of folks who believe the ending makes the movie probably won't like Skew too much.  In their minds, this will probably go down the same path as most of the found footage horror movies we've seen in the last several years.  Yes, naysayers - this is one of those movies. 

There are times when the people who love it when everything's wrapped up in a nice neat package are right, and I'll gladly admit that the found footage formula can turn stale pretty quickly.  But I don't think that the movie I'm going to talk about today - Skew - is a misfire that you should avoid.

The set up is simple. Three friends - one whiny dude, one guy who likes to act tough, and one girl (who is obviously sensible and sensitive, since she's a girl in a horror movie) - head out on an excessively long road trip, which will lead to bickering, sexual tension, and odd encounters.  Oh, and - since this is a horror movie - creepy stuff.

That creepy stuff is the key to any one of these films, and Skew doesn't disappoint.  The plot starts slowly, establishing the three characters, but a couple of things become evident quickly.  First of all, people are dying wherever the trio go.  Secondly, the whiny sensitive guy behind the camera is really attached to his camera.  Probably too attached, and his friends have started to notice.  But when we start seeing the things that he sees, we start to understand why he's so attached to that camera.

Though we've seen plenty of found footage films with similar set ups, I'm pretty sure there's not another horror movie that plays with the viewer the same way Skew does.  His perspective, as you might guess from the title, becomes altered - and only the audience can see what he does.  That adds to the tension between his character - who refuses to appear on camera - and the couple he's traveling with.  Some of the acting by the male leads is a little off throughout the conflict, but it wasn't enough to distract me from the odd events that were unfolding onscreen.

Most importantly, the escalating events of Skew kept escalating my interest in the film as it went on.  There was no early peak, nor was there a lull before one big event.  Skew found plenty of unique ways to advance its story, and it's the originality of the script that kept me fascinated in these characters and their journey.  By the time the final half hour rolled around, I found myself doing the things I'd expect to do when I watch an effective chiller.  I was checking the corner of the screen. I was preparing for every time a character changes their view.  Basically, I had all my defense shields active.

And yet, Skew found ways to get to me. And it all led up to a provocative ending that kept me thinking long after the credits rolled.  I won't bother with going into the ending - because a) it'd spoil most of the film, obviously; and b) I'm not sure I understand it well enough to talk about it.  But I'm interested in seeing it happen again - and that's all I can ask for from a film like this.

Skew will certainly gain some detractors because it's not drawn in bright colors and spelled out neatly.  But I think it works, and - if you're someone who wants to see a horror movie with a few chills that keeps your brain running - I say you could do a whole lot worse than Skew.  Kudos to producer/writer/director Seve Schelenz and his whole cast and crew, because they've managed to create something fresh in a subgenre that often loses its way. 

And the best part of all - Skew is on that crazy Instant Netflix thing you all love right freakin' now.  In the meantime, you can check out the trailer on YouTube - but you're better off skipping the trailer and just seeing it fresh - read as: no spoilers! - like I did.  Take a chance on it. Skew just might change your perspective.

4 comments:

The Film Connoisseur said...

I'm a fan of found footage/documentary style films. I'll be watching it this week! Expect a review soon.

Marvin the Macabre said...

Thanks for the tip. I'm always into watching indie horror that I actually have access to. Also, I get what you're saying about endings ruining films for some people. I think that's why the public reaction for The Devil Inside was so universally bad. Yes, the ending was weak, but I dug everything leading up to it enough to make the finale only a mild disappointment.

Planet of Terror said...

A fantastic, non-stale take on the well worn found footage flick. I'd love to talk about the ending but don't want to play the spoils. After talking to Seve about it a little more, it all makes sense. Definitely a mind bender.

R.D. Penning said...

I enjoyed it for the most part. There were things that bugged me, but entertaining overall. I look forward to more from Seve.