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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Review: Winterskin

Director: Charlie Steeds
Screenplay: Charlie Steeds
Year: 2019

Synopsis: After being shot in the snowy wilderness, Billy Cavanagh is taken care of by the strange old lady Agnes in her cabin. There he gets to know that the cabin is being stalked by a savage skinless creature decided to get in.

If you ever wondered how a fusion of the classics “Misery” and “Hellraiser” will end up like, “Winterskin” is the movie you were waiting for. The writer/director Charlie Steeds (“Escape from Cannibal Farm”) brings our way a story based mainly on two characters in a cabin in the middle of a desolated forest covered with snow in which skinless creatures roam around.

“Winterskin” starts showing the story of a family that was attacked by what seems like bloodthirsty creatures. This scene achieves establishing the tension and presents the violence and danger that these creatures represent. Then we get to Billy, interpreted by David Lenik (“Escape from Cannibal Farm”), who gets wounded and is being attended by Agnes, interpreted by Rowena Bentley (“The House of Violent Desire”). While the story unfolds, Billy starts doubting the mental integrity of Agnes and creates a new tension element, which puts the main character in danger in and out of the cabin.

The surroundings of the cabin are breathtaking and are well captured in the different outside takes and create a sense of danger accentuated by the apparent calm and the cold aesthetic. Inside the cabin, it is a completely different story, where warm colors dominate and presenting a more tangible danger, although uncertain.

A great deal of the movie is based on just two main character and much of the weight of the plot falls on them. I must say that both Lenik and Bentley do a great job in their interpretations even when sometimes they overact some parts. This is more obvious in the secondary characters, but it seems more a problem of silly dialogues in the script than the work of the actors. Also, they all try to imitate a southern United States accent that ends up being too exaggerated and unnecessary.

The story moves at a good pace, and this talks well of the work of the actors and the director. The only thing affecting the pace of the story is precisely these lines of dialog that are out of place with the rest of the movie. Also, the amount of dialogue, which is a lot, could have been reduced and opt for showing instead of telling some things. This would have made the story more interesting and would have cut down some of the monotony that inevitably is added with that much dialogue.

The creatures are one of the strongest points of this movie. The practical effects and the way they are presented is very good and frightening. In counterpart, the CGI effects used to represent blood splatter when there is an impact was too exaggerated for me and looked unintentionally funny. Following up with the technical aspects, I liked the music and it supports well the atmosphere of the movie, but in many parts, it is too present and ends up distracting.

“Winterskin”, even with its share of flaws, is a good movie. The dialogues can be too much for some people, but the plot and twists compensate for this. In the same way, the production flaws end up balanced by all it does well and ends up being a decent and entertaining product that deserves to be given a chance.

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