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Review Bites: Skinamarink, Fear, All Eyes and Viking Wolf

Skinamarink (2023)

Boring and pretentious. It is absolutely unwatchable but what do you expect from a “movie” titled after a children’s song by Sharon, Lois and Bram? I am not exaggerating when I say it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of movies. I love and celebrate David Lynch, Richard Kelly and other experimental filmmakers. I don’t require linear storytelling but this is not even a movie unless you call unwavering, unmoving shots of doorways, walls with whispering in the background and literally not much else a movie.

Equating this to an actual movie is being generous, stretching the definition of what a movie is. It is like staring at a wall in dark room for 90 minutes straight or watching a VR real estate house tour online.

If it had any less of a plot it would be a screensaver.

You have better things to do with your time like watching a kettle boil, watching grass grow or taking a nap. About the only value this “movie” serves is a magnificent test of patience and mental endurance.

Watch on: VOD, Shudder, Amazon Prime Video.

Viking Wolf (2023)

Eons ago, an ancient “hound of hell” sought refuge from mankind in a dark and forbidding forest. Fast-forward to the modern Norway where a teenage girl moves from the big city to a small town which is near the Viking Wolf’s lair. No sooner than Thale Berg (Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne) unpacks her suitcases than there is a gruesome wolf attack which reduces two teens to just bloody body parts.

Thale’s mom is police officer Liv Berg (Liv Mjönes) who leads the investigation into the attack. Viking Wolf quickly turns into more of a mother/daughter relationship movie with Thale’s stepfather in the background because he is portrayed as a useless, spineless wimp. Viking Wolf’s status as a horror movie isn’t helped by the fact that the wolf looks quite cute and the body count is smaller than Gremlin. Viking Wolf has all the right pieces but doesn’t put them together properly.

Watch on: Netflix.

Fear (2023)

There is no doubt that Fear is an extremely well-written film. Writers John Ferry and Deon Taylor (who is also the director) have put together some fantastic dialogue and characterizations. Regrettably these characters are part of a very muddled story, another pandemic paranoia plot that I have quickly grown quite tired of.

Joseph Sikora (Rom) surprises his his girlfriend, Bianca (Annie Ilonzeh), with a birthday getaway during the pandemic. The big surprise is that Rom has also invited their close friends to the cabin, lodge in the woods too. As corks are popped and glasses are raised, we are introduced to a legend involving a coven of Indigenous witches and their revenge plot against their kidnappers, abusers. If that wasn’t enough, the group starts to lose their minds and turn on each other when they suspect one of them is infected. The action is brutal and bloody but the premise is old and musty. Taylor’s tale is cluttered with too many ideas stuffed into one movie.

Watch on: VOD, digital.

All Eyes (2022)

Disgraced podcaster (Jasper Hammer as Allen) seeks personal and professional redemption by investigating the peculiar claims of an eccentric widowed farmer (Ben Hall as Don). On his remote farm, Don alleges that he is being stalked by a creature in the nearby woods who might or might not be tied to a shadowy government organization. Don is so afraid of the beast that he has transformed the farm into a minefield of deadly tricks and traps.

A skeptical Allen cuts Don some slack when he soon realizes how hard his wife’s death has hit him. With his recording gear in tow, Allen pulls up a lawn chair beside Don and his monster hunting equipment as they wait for the creature to show itself. The engaging and gripping relationship between the two men and the mystery of the monster are what drive this movie along. Interest really builds as those two aspects evolve. Hammer and Hall are really the only two characters, besides the memory/”ghost” of Don’s wife, and that was a smart choice by directors: The Greenlee Brothers. There is nothing to distract us or get in the way of the story. There is no wasted motion or scenes here. At times, you cheer on both men and at times, you jeer both men. One thing is for sure, they are never boring even if they are being out and out assholes.

Oh, there is a good deal of horror to be had as well. Lots of cat and mouse games, lots of anticipation and dread, especially when Don’s lethal traps are triggered by both friend and foe nailing all eyes on the screen for the big finale.

Watch on: VOD, digital.

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