Skeleton Crew
directed by Tommi Lepola, Tero Molin
(Anchor Bay, 2009)

Skeleton Crew is sort of the "perfect storm" of painfully bad horror movies -- a freakish combination of putrid directing, terrible acting, horrible writing, awful cinematography, a subplot that goes absolutely nowhere, etc. It's not that everything went wrong in the production of this movie -- it's the fact that everything was wrong to start with, long before this skeleton crew of hack filmmakers ever set foot in the Finnish mental institution that serves as the location of the -- for lack of a better word -- "story."

So here's the deal. Back in the 1970s, this doctor at this mental institution went insane and started filming himself killing the patients in all sorts of tortuous ways. Steven (Steve Porter) decides the true story of "The Auteur" would make a great movie, so he's brought a handful of Finnish actors and movie production folks to that very location to film what he apparently thinks is going to be a fantastic horror film. That right there should have been an early warning sign that Steven and sanity weren't the best of friends. Midway through filming, the crew discovers a secret room in the institution that served as the mad doctor's private screening room for his self-produced snuff films -- along with an undiscovered cache of the Auteur's private collection. Declaring it a pre-production research dream come true, Steven indulges in a snuff film marathon, rewrites the horror film he is making and -- increasingly annoyed at the lack of realism during filming -- decides to take matters into his own hands.

Sure, the gore isn't all that bad, but that's little consolation for even bad-movie lovers to sit through 90 minutes of such pathetic filmmaking. There's not even any decent female nudity to help ease the pain of Skeleton Crew. The fact that the ending in particular has some real problems really just rubs salt in what is already a festering wound. Boy Scouts should get a merit badge for sitting through this entire film. It was a struggle for me to even find a character I could pretend to care about the least little bit, and I knew what was going to happen to her and everyone else because the whole story is exceedingly predictable.

I don't make it a habit of saying I could do a better job of filmmaking, but I thought the filmmakers totally blew one golden opportunity of introducing a new twist to the story that would certainly have made for a compelling scene and might have saved the whole film from absolute mediocrity. Unfortunately, Tommi Lepola and Tero Molin were directing the film instead of me (or anyone else on Earth), so what you get is one stinking cow patty of a film.

review by
Daniel Jolley

10 July 2010

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