Director: Devin McGinn
Writer: Adam Ohler
Cast: Devin McGinn, Steve Berg, John Gries, Kyle Davis, Erin Cahill,
I had never heard of Skinwalker Ranch prior to seeing this movie. No, I’m talking about the actual ranch (I was well aware of the film. We’ve been covering it on this site for weeks now). Yes, there is actually a Skinwalker Ranch were hundreds of reported U.F.O. sightings and general freaky crap has been going for years. I am in no way an expert on the paranormal happenings in the world ( mostly due to the fact I believe it’s all bullshit), but one thing that seems plausible is aliens. Why the hell not? Do an internet search of Skinwalker Ranch and you’ll see hundreds of sites dedicated to it. Between all the stories and legends (apparently the actual ranch is under 24 hour armed guards) it’s hard to believe that someone hasn’t tried to bring it to the big screen sooner. Lucky for us Devin McGinn thought the same and rallied the troops to dive head first into first person alien mayhem.
Hoyt Miller’s (John Gries) son goes missing in a blink of an eye, literally. Years pass and in comes a young scientist named Sam (Steve Berg) who offers to help Hoyt make sense of his sons mysterious disappearance. Sam enlists his best friend/field journalist Cameron ( Devin McGinn) and a crew of stereotypical characters ( the hot female doctor, the no bullshit ex-marine etc) because who in there right mind doesn’t goes alien hunting without a mish mash crew of your friends? With cameras in place it doesn’t take long for the extraterrestrial happenings to… you know….happen.
McGinn starts the show out with a pretty standard found footage formula. Group of people+isolated and creepy setting+ cameras=found footage mayhem. Not that there’s anything wrong with it and McGinn isn’t afraid to work this formula. Starting the scares out mild and building to some pretty damn impressive scenes. That’s something of a rarity with low budget found footage films. They all seem to start small and finish small with no real pay off. McGinn goes against this trend. He starts out with Hoyt’s sons abduction, which keeps you intrigued, but once the shit hits the fan you (much like the characters) forget about the boy. Who can blame them? When a 500 pound wolf is using your truck as a chew toy would you? Probably not. Self preservation would be the name of the game from that point on.
The cast is filled with a buffet of great character actors and McGinn knows it. John Gries plays Hoyt with sad intensity. He is a father suffering from not knowing what happened to his son and is desperate to find answers. Even if it means allowing a group of strangers into his home video taping everything. He’s clearly uncomfortable being filmed but has nowhere else to turn. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but Hoyt’s story of his little boys last birthday had me a bit misty. I blame it on having a son of my own! Damn kid!
With any Sci Fi flick the SFX are gonna make or break it and Skinwalker Ranch has some pretty solid effects. The aforementioned werewolf is decent enough but McGinn never really gives us a good look at it which is smart. He took a page out of Spielberg’s book and went with less is more and worked it well. Not that the less is more approach is used throughout the film. There is towering alien that tears through the house like a extraterrestrial Leatherface. He hits the screen like a sledgehammer and provided one of the best “Oh Shit” moments I’ve seen this year.
Despite Skinwalker Ranch being a found footage genre movie (a format we are all getting tired of) Devin McGinn is able to pull off a decent Sci Fi movie. The film makers play it straight and never try to out do them selves and it really pays off. Impressive effects and a solid cast make for a fun ride and McGinn even leaves room for a sequel. With all the stories and legends surrounding the actual Skinwalker Ranch lord knows there’s enough material to base it off of.
Check out Skinwalker Ranch on iTunes now or CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT.