Let’s not mince words here. This movie – a 2004 SciFi Channel original – is bad. So bad that it’s just like the time when you forgot to take out the trash in the morning and you went to work oblivious. Then, in the evening when you walked through the front door, your place reeked fiercely because the food from last night spoiled in the heat of the day. And yes, there are fruit flies all over the damn place because you left a bag of aging apples on the counter, too. That bad.
It’s difficult to even explain this movie because there is so much garbage thrown together, that there isn’t really a good explanation for it.
But I’ll try.
Ready? So there is this couple-hundred-year-old homicidal tribesman who is stalking military personnel in the mountains at random, for reasons unknown, and choosing them for no clear purpose. Does he need a reason? Well, I guess he doesn’t, but when you watch a 90-minute film about a crazy dead man in a skeleton costume, you hope there’s some kind of point to it. Right?
Anyway, when you first see the tribesman in his garb, it looks as if he’s been comically unleashed. It’s unknown if he’s just been set loose because of some ancient Indian artifacts or if the artwork angle is merely coincidental to the story. Regardless, his targets quickly become everyone, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what he’s so angry about.
With Michael Rooker given featured-name credit in this film, I expected his signature “kick ass and take names later” attitude. In all his work, he just has an air about him that makes his mere arrival on the screen something you can cheer for. In ‘Skeleton Man,’ the attitude was there, but it was tame; his dialogue was pretty bad, probably through no real fault of his own. If it hadn’t been for his presence, I’m not sure I would have gotten beyond the first fifteen minutes of the film – which, now that I think about it, I suppose I can be a little upset at him for, all things considered. Thanks, Rooker!
Maybe it should have been called ‘Ghost Man’ instead, because when he gallops past his prey on his horse really fast, like the Headless Horseman, no one can pinpoint him. Folks, if the movie had stuck to one main ideal throughout its entirety, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. You can mostly forgive low budget effects if the story is good enough, but the whole movie is a hack job that seems pieced together because it absolutely had to get pushed out. I don’t know what director Johnny Martin’s intentions were, but I have a feeling the outcome of the finished film is not what he’d intended to release. Rather huge clear pieces of the story were just missing or done very poorly.
But what about the plot, you ask. Surely, the story had some redeeming qualities… to that, I reply: where was the story? What was it? Was the Skeleton Man a ghost spirit let out of Indian pottery at the beginning and went around slaughtering whoever he felt like? Was everyone just in the wrong place at the wrong time and he just felt like killing everyone? Was he a crazed former NFL team mascot who has simply had enough with the world and snapped? I can’t tell you with any real certainty, but those are closest ideas that I can guess.
It’s unclear if the actor who is playing Skeleton Man is supposed to be representing an actual skeleton or if the character is dressed AS a skeleton to hide his aged body. The character wears a rubber skeleton mask and he looks like a lame version of Skeletor from Masters of the Universe and he has some kind of ridiculous supernatural heat vision like he’s some kind of wanna-be Predator. Believe me, we’ve seen these effects before-and they were better the first time. With addition of the super-secret military professionals (including a Capser Van Dien sighting, for you ‘Starship Troopers’ Johnny Rico fans out there), some who have specialties that hardly pertain to the terrain they’re in, this film is just terrible. An underwater demolitions specialist is present? Do you see a lake, swamp, or even a puddle anywhere? I don’t. And once again, you get a bunch of pretty women and fit men trying to pretend they are tactical in a movie. They did try to come off with confident attitudes, but their tactical efforts were just unbelievable.
Was I entertained at all during the film? Does plucking your armpit hair out with tweezers count as entertainment? Because really, go do that instead of seeing this movie. Unless you’re someone with insider information of why this movie went so bad and can accept how it turned out, I just can’t recommend it as entertainment. From the ridiculous military maneuvers to the complete lack of plot, the thing made no sense all the way through it. From the blind Indian who wanted canned beans in the middle of the wilderness to some kind of chemical power plant in the middle of nowhere, this thing is the fart that circles the room in a crowded movie theater.
I’m sorry to everyone who worked hard to bring it to life for the audience. I’m sure this isn’t what you expected when you signed on, but I just can’t recommend the movie. It has too many problems and it was awful. Rooker, of course, is the gem and if you’re a fan of his work, maybe you’ll still want to see it, but it’s a rough one, so don’t expect much from it.
So in conclusion, dear readers, I thought this movie was a big steaming pile of poo. I can usually find some redeeming quality about anything I review that I like to share with you. But there just isn’t anything I can do that within this film. Too many things go wrong with it to qualify as being anything but bad.
PS – the movie is so bad, the trailer for the film doesn’t even seem to exist anymore online. Here’s what may be a fan-made trailer, cobbled together from pieces of the film, and dubbed into another language. It may actually be more entertaining than the film itself. Enjoy.