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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Skew starts on fine day as Richard Harrison (Richard Olak) & his
girlfriend Eva Hansen (Amber Lewis) arrive at their friend Simon
Lacey's (Rob Scattergood) place to pick him & his girlfriend Laura
(Teneal Cutting) up to go on a long road trip, unfortunately Laura has
changed her mind & doesn't want to go so it's just Richard, Eva &
Simon. Having just brought a new camera Simon has decided to film the
entire trip for prosperity, the three friends set-off & all goes well
at first but Simon becomes obsessed with filming everything which
starts to annoy both Richard & Eva. While filming checking in to a
motel Simon notices that the face of the clerk is skewed & twisted,
later that night the clerk is found dead, the strange occurrence
continues to happen as whenever a person or animal's face is blurred or
distorted while Simon is filming it ends up dead sooner rather than
later including local tourist attractions, bus loads of people & even
cop's. Simon is understandably shocked but is the camera responsible
somehow & can he convince anyone to believe him...
Edited, written, produced & directed by Sevé Schelenz I have just finished watching Skew after it took me three nights to watch it in little pieces as I couldn't stand seeing more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time, looking at the other reviews floating around the internet I am amazed that Skew is getting such a positive reaction as I thought it was one of the worst films I have seen in ages in every aspect. Let me try to explain why, when I watch a film I just want to be entertained & have some fun with it & if it educates me or makes me think a bit then that's fine but if a film bores me half to death & annoys the hell out of me such as Skew then I have no problem is saying so. For a start Skew lasts for just over 80 minutes & is as boring a film as I have seen in ages, almost literally nothing of any note happens, there's the odd random moment in which people's faces are distorted on camera & they end up dead somehow but is that really enough to warrant all the praise that is being heaped on Skew? Well, if the script did anything interesting or meaningful or coherent with the idea then yes, maybe but it doesn't & Skew ends up as some huge confusing & frustrating mess of a film that I absolutely loathed. Nothing in Skew makes any sense, surely any big budgeted Hollywood film would get ripped to pieces for being this random & incomprehensible? There are baffling moments throughout Skew that make no sense or seem to have any sort of logic that all build up to the most pointless, meaningless & unfathomable ending you could imagine. If anyone can make any sort of sense out of the ending that has any sort of logic within the context of the film then I salute them because it's just a confused mess as far as I am concerned. I won't go into it but the ending isn't so much of a twist as a random collection of scenes that seem to equally contradict the rest of the film & have seemingly no point in regard to the rest of the film. Look, I have no idea why anyone would like Skew & if these people who are giving it good reviews are genuine then fine but for me who just wants to be entertained by a film then Skew is my worst nightmare, it's a boring mess of a film that makes no logical or narrative sense & doesn't even have any sort of story or character's or dialogue to maintain my interest, I absolutely hated Skew & it represents just about everything I loath in a film.
Besides being conceptually awful I hated the way Skew was filmed in a point of view style as filmed by an amateur camcorder operator, it just looks ugly & has zero style or visual appeal to me. There are long stretches of pure black, as much shakiness as you can handle, plenty of shots which last for too long (a shot of a telephone that last for about a minute before anything happens), shots filmed from weird angles where you can't see what's going on properly & just a really bad camcorder look like it was filmed by a five year old. This shaky hand-held camcorder style of filmmaking is one that I hate, this comes down to personal preference but I hate the cheap camcorder look. I like films to look like films, to be colourful & visually appealing rather than drab & amateurish. A lot of the reviews state that there are lots of scary moments in Skew, well if there are I didn't notice them since most of the creepy moments seem to be quick flashes of what may or may not be ghosts or people with their faces distorted like someone has taken a rubber to a pencil sketch & tried to rub it out leaving a great smeary mess.
It's difficult to comment on the production values since Skew is meant to look this bad & amateurish but it's obviously a very low budget film & it show's. The acting is alright, we never see Simon the camera guy's face but I have to say all three main character's really got on my nerves & at the end I was glad to see the back of them.
Skew is a film that I absolutely hated, it made zero sense to me & was just an incomprehensible mess that did nothing for me conceptually or visually as the whole camcorder footage style is one that I loath. I hated Skew, it's as simple & straight forward as that really.
I first saw Skew at the Mississauga Film Festival. This is a psychological thriller/horror film that has found a new voice in its "found footage" sub-genre. Skew kept me wondering and waiting for more. The acting is good. The character of Eva is especially strong, haunting the audience with her wide eyes. The effects are subtle and work well in the grainy home video 4x3 ratio. Sometimes the scenes felt a little too long, but there were enough scares that I was compelled to see it again when I was in Manhattan for the Manhattan Film Festival. This second time I concentrated on the story and picked up on clever plot points that I missed or didn't seem to matter on my first viewing. Pay attention, this film is coming from a new direction that will side-swipe you.
Finally got to see this film and I can understand what some people are saying, yes, it's a little slow, but have you seen Sicario??? SLOWWWWW as well and very little action. But the action that's there is pretty good. Same with SKEW. After the build-up and tension, there are moments that shock and surprise. The problem with people these days is that they don't want to THINK. God forbid a movie doesn't spoon-feed you the answers and if you have to do a little critical thinking to figure things out. That's what I like about SKEW. It is unassuming and subtle. It works and I'm happy to say that I almost guessed the ending and when it happened, I was giddy with shock at the horrible idea of what it all meant. If you want lots of guts and gratuitous violence, go somewhere else, but if you're willing to sink into a movie and use your brain a little, then you will have lots to contemplate with SKEW.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love finding a low rated horror and squirreling out superior quality
through the reviews.
This time me faily. Total irritation The idea is clever, but it depends on telling the story through the camera, and the camera work is awful, the camera-man character irritating.
So many scenes where the angle is static and we're supposed to use our imagination - but it's simply boring. Boredom. Irritation. Boredom through irritation. Irritoredom.
I did like the rewind technique for the final reveal, but I suspect that was the whole point and what went before was just an excuse to get there. Not good enough.
In the end it's an editor's production, with no idea how to deliver character.
I like how realistic this movie felt. I instantly was interested in watching this when i found out it was about a road trip. I love road trips and the director does a great job of capturing the feel and mood of a road trip. There are moments of goofy-ness and then there are moments of the regular everyday stuff that one has to deal with that isn't all that eventful. So there's a really genuine feel about this movie. All the characters have their own unique personalities but I was mostly drawn to Eva. She was quiet, yet caring. But something didn't feel quite right with her. Almost like she has this ominous, foreboding, intuitive sense going on around her and this feeling is what permeates throughout the film. Her trepidation sort of sets the mood as the film gets progressively darker and darker. This one is definitely a thinker. Especially the ending. I had to rewind it a couple of times to see it again and again and really had to step back and assess the situation in order to figure it out. Once I did, I realized, the dark reality of it and thought what a great ending but you really have to pay attention. A great little indie gem.
Skew is yet another hand-held POV horror in a similar vein to The Blair
Witch Project and its countless found footage imitators. On this
occasion, the person behind the camera is Simon (Rob Scattergood), who
experiences disturbing occurrences while documenting his road trip with
friends Rich (Richard Olak) and Eva (Amber Lewis): while peering
through the viewfinder, Simon witnesses strange visual distortions that
seem to predict the subject's imminent death.
Told at a very leisurely pace, with the camera even resting on inanimate objects or total blackness for minutes on end, Skew is definitely a test of one's patience at times; however, commendable performances and sporadic moments of well-handled weirdness keep the viewer watching, as does the hope of a satisfying denouement. It's rather frustrating then that, by the end of proceedings, several issues are still left unresolved, most notably the true nature of the supernatural phenomenon and the fates of several characters.
On occasion, a little ambiguity can work in a film's favour, but in this instance, after such an arduous and often uneventful haul, it only serves to irritate.
N.B. A little detective work here on IMDb has since enabled me to better understand the director's intentions, but when an in-depth explanation from those involved is necessary in order to appreciate a film, then it only seems fair to call it a failure.
I don't think it matters how interesting the idea of the movie was, if
the movie itself didn't manage to bring across any sort of energy or
drama to the storytelling. People are giving this tremendous reviews.
For me, it was a lot of circular conversations with really annoying
people. I think the filming of all the cheesy tourist attractions was
meant to be ironic, but since it involved me actually having to see the
biggest viking head, fork, pot, dish, chair, and knife it loses all
irony points and becomes a pretty good indicator of the rest of the
The horror element was poorly constructed. I get the idea behind the film, but they don't explore it very well. The ending is deliberately vague to give some interest that the other 85 minutes lack.
I can't even make this review interesting. It was a lacklustre, self-indulgent annoying little feature without any sort of scare to make up for the boring dialogue and travel montages that take up the majority of the feature.
This movie had a lot of elements that I look for in movies but are so
hard to find! Talented but unknown/little known actors (no offense to
the cast!), a unique plot, or unique plot elements, thriller/horror is
my fav genre, & it should leave a little to the imagination. Well done!
It built the plot up slowly, but always moving, and it had plenty of
suspense but no gore. It kept my attention the whole time. Admittedly I
had to read a bit to fill in some gaps, but I blame myself, not Sevé.
His explanations were thorough and fit in well, it definitely improved
my opinion of a movie I already liked.
I was hoping #Sevé Schelenz had a slew of other movies for me to peruse, but I guess I have to wait to see more. Something to look forward to! I did my research, and up next is Peelers... I can't wait!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seve Schelenz's Skew, made in 2005 and just released on a semi-wide
scale in 2011, makes two very bold statements on the subjectivity of
the viewing experience.
Firstly, you don't have to share the exact same world view as the filmmaker. His or her art either inspires, provokes, or in some other significant way touches you, or it doesn't. His idea of the film's plots, themes, and character motivations may or may not coincide with yours. But if the film is made well enough, that shouldn't matter. Secondly, never assume your narrator or hero is reliable, well-adjusted, or sane.
This last point is especially significant as Skew is told from the point of view of a camera-addled, eerily withdrawn, and uniquely deluded protagonist named Simon (Rob Scattergood), and the road trip he embarks upon with two friends, Eva and Richard (Amber Lewis and Richard Olak). With the exception of a scant few shots, most of the film is shot from Simon's POV behind the camera. It isn't found-footage --- there are jumps to other perspectives beside Simon's --- but we're definitely inside his mindset for most of the film. This provides a special challenge to us, as viewers. We're given several keys to the "puzzle" of Simon, but then put "inside" Simon, or the puzzle, to figure it out.
To call Simon an obsessive is an understatement. His face is literally buried in the camera for the entire trip, shooting anywhere between seven and ten tapes per day. He starts to find faces of certain subjects skewed or twisted as he records their images, often times seeing very vivid phantoms through the viewfinder but then not able to validate any of this when rewinding and playing back the tapes. Almost inevitably, the subjects with the "blurred" faces wind up dead. This led me to believe Simon was either killing all these people or aiding in their deaths in some way. Well, as it turns out...not quite. The truth is actually even a bit more chilling. The best way I can think of to describe Simon's relationship to his camera is to compare it to Anthony Hopkins' relationship to his ventriloquist's dummy in "Magic." The camera and the dummy are both shields, weapons, and the primary tools of the protagonist's destruction.
The first time I saw Skew, I came to the wrong conclusion. That is, what I thought was going on by the end of the film didn't quite coincide with the director's intention (for Schelenz's full explanation, see http://coolawesomemovies.com/director-seve-schelenz-explains-skew/). Did that make the film any less interesting, compelling, or downright disturbing for me? Not in the least. Skew still contains some very jolting, jump-out-of-your-seat moments and the tension between the actors is very palpable and nicely played (Olak, in particular, voices the audience's growing frustration and irritation with Simon to particularly good effect).
Simon --- not the camera --- is "skewed." His perception of reality is off---way, way off. His fascination with Eva, who doesn't share his feelings in the least, is probably the most blatant indicator of this delusion. His self-hatred --- taken to the extreme point where he can't bear to be photographed, videotaped, or even to look at himself in the mirror is another.
Skew blatantly defies all traditional expectations of the psychological horror film, yet still leaves us with a very stark, vivid impression of derangement. It has it's flaws and Schelenz is not a perfect filmmaker: there are many ways he could have made his point in a much clearer and coherent manner and there is one scene in particular, in a police interrogation room, that blatantly doesn't work. It seems it's intention was to mislead but it only winds up confusing us. Despite these flaws (which Schelenz readily acknowledges in the link above, and kudos to him for that), Skew does work. It unsettles you and stays with you for quite some time. I wish there was more like it.
In the wake of found footage greats like Paranormal Activity, Grave Encounters, REC., Cloverfield etc. a movie like Skew automatically makes you have high expectations for it and be extra critical of it but I can thankfully say that Skew came pretty darn close at being in their league. The movie does have a pretty slow build up introducing us to three friends Simon, Rich and Eva on a road trip to a wedding, everything seems fine and dandy but tension soon builds when Simon starts seeing strange and unexplained images in his video camera that he brings along that makes faces of strangers that they encounter on the trip distorted and soon after tragic accidents involving the strangers that they meet occur. This movie has suspense throughout and an involving story filled with twists that will have you guessing and scratching your head til the very end but that is the film's major problem that there is more questions than answers and is one of those films that makes you come up with your own conclusions which I hate and is a shame because this movie had so much potential but the story seems unfinished. There are a few scares here and there and a lot of creepy and chilling scenes but nothing major enough to make you lose sleep over it but this movie is mostly story/character and suspense driven but then again an unknown movie with unknown actors and a limited budget it's pretty darn impressive and a gem even though it needs a little bit more polishing and fixing up the loosen ends. Overall it's like The Blair Witch Project meets Shutter meets Final Destination without the gore meets Tape but without any true, memorable scares and too many plot holes it makes you think what could of been especially with an intriguing and unsettling premise but it's definitely worth a look with patience and an open mind and low expectations. 6.6 out of 10
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