MAY 15, 2009
The best thing I can say about Skin Crawl is that it’s only 75 minutes long, which allows you to watch it, shake your head, and forget all about it for little more than the time it takes to do the same for yet another disposable episode of Smallville or Sarah Connor Chronicles. But, at the same time, at least you can say that any episode of either of those shows has a discernible point, which Crawl clearly does not (but it does have a lot of nudity, so I guess it evens out).
For starters, after a hilariously inept and overlong prologue set in ye olde times (the actual date isn’t given, and the costumes of the three bad guys don’t quite match, one looks like a Revolutionary War soldier, the others look like early 20th century beggars) that concerns a trio of women who may be witches, we spend a good 50 minutes detailing the account of a love quadrangle between truly wretched and boring people. One of them has the sexual libido of a 14 year old boy, and even allows one of the guys to fuck her up the ass, so by default she’s OK, but there wasn’t a single one of them I wanted to spend a minute with, let alone a movie.
Let me explain the plot briefly, such as it is: Debbie Rochon is married to an asshole who is fucking some other broad (Julian Wells), who has her own boyfriend. Wells and the boyfriend plan to convince the asshole to have Rochon killed by hitmen. Wells claims to know the guys to do it, and gets him to fork over 100k for the murder. As soon as Rochon is killed, Wells dumps the asshole and goes back to her boyfriend to split the money.
So you might read that and wonder how this is a horror movie, beyond the witch stuff at the beginning. Well, Rochon comes back to life (or not, the clumsy direction never makes it clear if it’s real or a dream) and kills her asshole husband, Wells, and the boyfriend. But that’s only the final 5 minutes of the movie, and the opening stuff with the witches is never addressed, explained, or mentioned ever again. There are two other witches, where are they? Skin Crawl 2 and 3?
Really, the movie is the world’s lamest soft-core porn (director Justin Wingenfeld has an extensive background of acting in films like Gladiator Eroticvs: The Lesbian Warriors). The film is only 75 minutes long (with credits over black, lots of flashbacks, and the end credits) and yet there are about six sex scenes (plus the least convincing rape scene in film history). None of them are particularly erotic or interesting, and they all involve Wells (Rochon remains clothed throughout the entire film). I was hoping at least the ass-fucking scene would be good, since the plot actually revolves around it (the film’s best moment is when Wells shouts “I’m not the one who had my wife killed so his girlfriend would let him fuck her in the ass!”), but it’s probably the weakest.
They also botch things by having Erin Brown né Misty Mundae in a small role. Since she already starred in what is likely the definitive “Don’t be a shitty husband” morality horror tale, the short(ish) film In The Wall, having her here just reminds us of how awful it is. Speaking of short films, maybe without the witch crap at the beginning this could be a halfway decent Tales From The Crypt episode (I wouldn’t be surprised if an actual episode had a similar premise), as the zombie ending would be an actual surprise instead of what we are waiting for the entire movie, but even then the story would require padding.
So what does Wingenfeld do, as this is a full length movie (sort of)? Well, he recycles footage over and over, flashing back to things we just saw. Sometimes it’s in a Tarantino-y way, where we SEE something else while HEARING the old dialogue (like in Pulp Fiction when we hear Honey Bunny and Pumpkin talking as we watch Jules and Vincent), but more often than not it’s just the same footage we already saw, and the plot is hardly complicated, which renders it wholly unnecessary. He also helpfully inserts “proof” for some things for no reason. Like when the husband says “I don’t think she suspects a thing” to Wells, Wingenfeld cuts back to a scene where Rochon is telling her friend how she suspects that he is having an affair, a scene we saw some five minutes before. Thanks for thinking that the audience is so stupid that they can’t remember key dialogue from mere moments before, buddy! He also, as I mentioned, piles on the sex scenes, as well as other superfluous nonsense like the two hitmen arguing about how many car lengths to keep apart even though we never see them driving except when they pull up to the deserted murder spot, when keeping car lengths apart wouldn’t matter.
The movie has a commentary track with Wingenfeld, producer Michael Raso, and DP John Paul Fedele, and it’s the rare case in which listening to the track makes me actually dislike a movie more. They trash “Tarantino knockoffs” because of all the fake dialogue, despite the fact that their film has people saying things like, well, “I’m not the one who had my wife killed so his girlfriend would let him fuck her in the ass!”. One of them also says how he dislikes the horror sections of the film (the first 10 minutes and final five), preferring the “meat” of the ugly and boring affair/murder plot. And when someone has the audacity to point out a technical error such as the lighting or whatever, the other two are quick to defend it. At the vague ending of the movie, they criticize “Hollywood movies” for spoon-feeding the audience, despite, as I’ve said, their movie being padded with flashbacks to remind us of things we had just seen. In short, it’s a fucking pointless, arrogant, hypocritical commentary, because it should be 75 minutes of the participants alternating between making fun of it and apologizing to anyone who bothered to watch it. Instead, we get this gem: “You don’t have to be a professional filmmaker to make a film. Anybody can be a filmmaker.” He says over the definitive argument against such a sentiment. And this is before they mock Francis Ford Coppola, despite the fact that it’s probably easier to find someone who loves Jack than someone who even mildly enjoys this piece of shit.
There are also some interviews on the DVD, but fuck you, movie.
What say you?