“Skinwalker Ranch” is a film that is very loosely based on the actual place of the same name. The place is in Utah and is a supposed known area for paranormal activity. Everything…literally…EVERYTHING has been reported here:
- Cattle mutilations
- Crop circles
- Glowing orbs
- Kardashian sightings
- Spontaneous STDs
OK. Maybe I made the last two examples up. But the ranch does live in infamy for being a hot-spot for the spooky. before I saw this film, I did some research. It has been denied by skeptics. It has been reported that more than 100 events have taken place, by the believers. So how about a movie about all of that? This film could be awesome! Every monster you can think of lives out there! I was pretty excited about the concept.
The film opens with a family that lives on the ranch, celebrating their little boy’s birthday party. Suddenly, the little boy vanishes in front of everyone’s very eyes. The father is blamed for the disappearance, and the whole town seems to think that he is lying about the incident. One year later, a team is sent to document the incident and investigate the premises. Of course, this is where things start to go down hill for our characters.
Lets start with the good: The acting is pretty good. No big names here, but they all seem to be competent actors. The setting is great too, and seems like a character within itself. Most of the dialogue is very believable, and they way the characters interact is great. They seem like old friends who have worked together for quite a while.
The bad: Well…it’s another found footage movie. It’s been done so many times at this point, that if it isn’t done in a new and interesting way ( Like “Chronicle”) then it seems to just bleed into all other FF movies. Until they all make up one big, amorphous blob of found footage that no one wants to watch. They literally dont do anything that hasn’t been done a hundred times over. Is there a blueprint for these kinds of movies out there somewhere? This is my biggest gripe with the film. If you are going to do FF, you have to something unique with it. I could forgive the film’s other flaws, if this was handled in a more defining fashion. It’s not even beating a dead horse anymore. It’s beating a whole field of dead horses with a bag full of your dignity.
The ugly: The special effects could have been better. I understand that this isn’t an A-list feature, with A-list money. I get that. But the use of practical effects instead of cheap CGI would have greatly benefited this film. Sometimes CGI works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Our characters literally make some of the worst decisions I have ever seen. I have compiled a list of examples of people with better decision making skills:
- Britney Spears
- Drunk college students
- The cast of “16 and Pregnant”
- Adolf Hitler
I mean, when people come into physical bodily harm from forces unknown or unseen, and you have it on camera….it is time to leave. Everyone get in the van. Lets go. But then, I guess we wouldn’t have much of a movie, and I am still on the fence about this movie’s existence as it stands. Instead we get:
“Is that a dark cave? I can’t see where it goes or how deep it is. Lets go down there without a map, supplies, or a compass!”
No. Really. That happens.
If you have 90 minutes to kill, and you are bored, then check this one out. It isnt “horrible” by any means. I was entertained through most of the film. But the character’s choices, and the found footage template really took me “out of the film”. Check it out on a rainy day.