Thursday, May 12, 2016

Skeleton Key film review

Skeleton Key 2015 film review by Wmpyr

Much of this story takes place in a messed up town called Nilbog. That should tell you right there the director is making an homage to Troll 2, king of the so bad it's good movie genre. It's obvious that the director of Skeleton Key is trying to make a campy so bad it's good low budget movie, and does it succeed? IMHO yes it does. There were some really rough spots with the film, but I found myself rooting for this film to be at least watchable.

The main problem with the film is probably that it's too all over the place. Now I understand that this kind of film can use plot holes and unpredictable craziness as an appeal, but that can also cheapen the film which is not good when it's already a low budget film, it makes it look more amateurish than it needs to be. One thing they could have done is to limit all of the monsters in Nilbog to monsters. Instead we have a goofy king with a dildo. Is this a demented Alice in Wonderland or a comedy horror film? Why couldn't it have been an Evil Jester, or a decapitated King? On the other hand the spider woman blended right in with the zombies for me.

Another negative was the overly stereo typical characters, such as the Jamaican guy and the guy from India. This was done for humor, but instead it came across as annoying and racist IMO. I think the director could have made them unique and memorable without going that route. Sadly this was more Jar Jar Binks than characters in a Robert Rodriguez film.

The director really tries to do a lot in this film, it probably could have been much shorter, and there is a ton of stuff going on, too much stuff going on. From a musical sequence, to the main character being possessed by an evil spirit, quoting Star Wars, surviving zombies, and the main character transforming from dweeb to bad ass. I think it would have been a better film if the director had spent more time to develop each scene rather than cram a ton of scenes. For example when they meet up with the costumed survivors in Nilbog, they could have shown how those people survived, rather than just show them bunched up in a room and that's it. Maybe less survivors but each one can have a little character development.

The pacing of the film is a little break neck speed IMO. I would like to see shots of just the city, a puddle on the ground, it's small things like this that create a mood. My friend who is a talented musician said to me once that a good song isn't everyone in the band trying to outdo each other and plays hard and fast the whole way, but rather when a band has team work, and each member knows when to use the slow down, change of pacing, and silent moments to their advantage.

It may seem like I'm being super critical, but it's because the film made me care for it, I enjoyed it and saw the potential in it. At the end of the day my hat goes off to the director for doing this, I'm sure it was frustrating and took a lot of drive. When I compare this to Secrets of the Clown, I like Skeleton Key better because the director isn't trying to pretend like this is a serious scary film with a solid story. Another problem with Secrets of the Clown was that decent story telling in a film should not be done through dialog unless you got great actors. It's a motion picture so tell the story through action, not speech. Even though I thought this film had too much "action" at least it did that.

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