Skin Crawl (2007)

DVD Cover (Shock-O-Rama Cinema)
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Overall Rating 37%
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Ranked #5,760
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In the late 17th century, a family of witches is terrorized by a corrupt public official. When their sister is murdered, the remaining two put on a curse on their bloodline, bringing horrible retribution to anyone who victimizes any member of their family, no matter how many generations away. Three hundred years later, their last descendant is a wealthy woman stuck in an unhappy marriage. Her husband and his mistress decide to have her killed to get at her money, unaware of the curse and the forces of darkness that they are about to unleash. --IMDb
Julian Wells
Julian Wells
Kevin G. Shinnick
Kevin G. Shinnick
Debbie Rochon
Debbie Rochon
Armand Anthony
Armand Anthony
John Paul Fedele
John Paul Fedele
Review by Chad
Added: March 04, 2007
In tonight's tale of witchcraft and betrayal, we kick things off in the eighteen century with a coven of witches who are doing - well, witchy things, when a group of townsfolk barge into their house and drag one of the members out into the woods. They take turns raping her, and she ends up dying after they've all had their way with her. As a matter of retribution, the remaining witches cast a spell that will bring forth their vengeance on anyone who causes harm to these witches or their descendants - said spell is also retroactive, I'm assuming.

We then fast forward to the present day and meet our cast for this little outing. Margaret (Debbie Rochon) and Howard (Kevin G. Shinnick) are a couple who are going through some rough times in their marriage, and as a nice little "Good morning" gesture to her husband, Margaret tells him that they need to discuss their relationship when she gets home from work. Unbeknownst to (but suspected by) Margaret, Howard has been having an affair with a lady named Sadie (Julian Wells), and as soon as Margaret leaves for work, he gets on the phone with her and tells her that he thinks his wife is planning on divorcing him. Sadie, knowing that Margaret has quite a lot of money in the bank, suggests that they hire someone to murder her instead of letting her leave and take away his lavish lifestyle, a plan that Howard quickly agrees to after a little "feminine persuasion." What the two don't count on is the fact that Margaret is a descendant of one of those witches from so many years ago, and the spell just so happens to still be in effect. Watch for cameo appearances along the way by both Misty Mundae and Ruby Larocca.

To be quite honest, I didn't expect a whole lot from this film before popping it in due to the witchcraft aspect of it. You see, I've noticed that whenever a low-budget film focuses on either vampires or witches, it's a sign that the filmmakers just wanted to get a cheap movie made without going through the process of putting together a well-crafted story. These types of films pretty much write themselves in regards to how they'll play out and what sort of kills you're going to get, and the only thing that the filmmakers need to do is find themselves a couple of women to pop their tops for the camera. If they can find a couple of good-looking ladies to do such, then they've got a movie centered around witches that is ready to be shot; otherwise, they head down to the local convenience store and fetch a pair of cheap plastic fangs from the toys section. There's exceptions to this rule, of course, but that's what I think of every time I hear about a new witch or vampire movie coming out - and in a sadly large number of cases, I'm correct in my assumptions. This was not one of those times.

What sets Skin Crawl apart from the rest of the "Witches Gone Wild" films is the fact that there's an actual story to be found here, and it's told in such a way that it quickly becomes apparent that those responsible for it wanted to make a good movie rather than a cheap "Let's slap a cool DVD cover on it and make a quick buck" one. To be honest, the whole witch angle could have been scrapped and replaced with one of those Tales From the Crypt angles where the deceased woman comes back for vengeance with no explanations given; the witchcraft stuff is really not that important in the grand scheme of things, and that was a good thing in my eyes.

The storyline is told in a very cool fashion, with there being more than one side to each of the characters found within and a little more than meets the eye to each of the scenes. This is done by way of showing a scene through one of the character's eyes, and then showing the same scene as one of the other characters saw it. As an example, we watch as Howard makes that fateful call to his mistress and see her reaction to the news before Howard moves on with his day. Then, we see the same scene over again (fast-forwarding through the majority of the phone conversation, thankfully); only this time, we're seeing it through Sadie's eyes, and we then see how she moves on with her day. Each time this effect takes place, we find out just a little more about the characters involved, and the storyline goes from there.

There's also some good scares to be found towards the end, and even though this was director Justin Wingenfeld's first film, it doesn't take a genius to see that the man knows how to set a scene for maximum effect. There's one particular shot that I especially enjoyed, and although I can't really explain it here for fear of spoilers, I felt that it was one of the better scenes that I've seen in quite some time. I can't say the same thing about every last scene in here, but again, this guy has the potential to make some damned good movies if this was any indication.

This was a surprisingly good film, and it's one that I'll definitely recommend on this site. Movies focused on witches aren't something that I'm a huge fan of for the reasons mentioned above, but this just goes to show that when a movie is done right, it doesn't matter what the genre is: a damned good movie is a damned good movie. 8/10.
C L #1: C L - added 12/14/2012, 11:56 PM
Wow. This is almost 6 years after your review. and I usually like the same kinds of movies that you like Chad, but this is the absolute worst movie that I have ever watched all the way through. I kept waiting for something good or cool to happen and I was so disappointed. Just worthless garbage. 1/10 and they only get the 1 for showing up to work, zero for entertaining me,
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