B-horror movies are meant to break from the mainstream and, instead, be a celebration of ridiculousness and border the line of comedy. Heads bursting, over-exaggerated reactions, and just buckets of gore are tropes littering these sorts of films. It’s good old-fashioned horror fun and something that isn’t seen much today. Filmmakers who choose to make a b-horror film usually earn my respect for trying to bring back a dead genre. However, Winterskin is not one of those films.
The story begins with a family getting shot and hacked to death by some unknown assailant. Soon after, we see Billy and his father Russell out in the woods looking for something. Billy gets separated from his father and stumbles upon a cabin. As he approaches it, a gunshot is heard and we see a bullet fly through the front door of the cabin and enter Billy’s leg. He passes out and awakens sometime later inside the cabin. An old woman named Agnes has been tending to his wound and apologizes to him for shooting him. She thought he was a burglar and reacted out of fear.
A young man on a hunt with his father, Russel. The two get separated and he ends up at a lone cabin in the woods. He ends up getting shot by the owner, Agnes. She brings him in to care for his wound.
A reclusive and eccentric old woman living in the woods. She shoots Billy, believing him to be one of the monsters she’s spotted out in the woods.
Billy’s father who gets separated from Billy at the beginning of the film.
A member of Russell’s hunting party and one of the locals. It’s clear that they are looking for more than wild game out in the woods.
Another member of the hunting party with a strong appetite and a weak stomach.
The final member of the hunting party. He’s quiet, and not very good with his gun.
The visuals in this film were very amateurish. There were lighting issues throughout the film with the bright scenes being too bright and the dark scenes being too dark. The production team used those weird film filters that make everything look blurry and hazy.
The special effects weren’t very great either, except for the monster design. I found it to be well done and it was probably the best actor in the entire film. However, the gore and blood were too over-the-top and ridiculous to the point of hilarity. The filmmaker must have a vomit fetish because it almost seemed like that was his go-to every time the characters witnessed something disturbing. I feel like a lot of this was meant to shock the audience, but it just made me laugh because it was so overused and ridiculous.
The film seemed to be littered with free-for-use music one could find on Youtube. It was all very generic and nothing stood out. In fact, when the creature finally attacks the music makes the entire scene comical. It was like something out of a parody movie, and I think it had the opposite effect of what the director had intended.
I will say, for all of its faults, Winterskin does a decent job sticking to the horror genre. It may not be well executed or make a cohesive statement, but it does embody many of the classic horror and B-horror tropes. I think the filmmakers just wanted to make a horror film, but they didn’t take the time to bring things to the next level. I feel like there was a good foundation present, but somehow that got lost in the end product.
Horror is a subjective drama because, like comedy, everyone finds what affects them personally to be different. Some people might find monsters to be scary while others might find giant bugs to be terrifying instead. What can’t be forgiven is the terrible acting and the bizarre decisions made. I looked up background information about Winterskin after watching it, and I found out it was made in the UK. That makes a LOT of sense because it was like someone made a movie about Americans who had no idea what Americans were like.
For example, all of the men, except Billy, had long hair and looked like Gandalf. Nobody living in the backwoods is walking around in fur coats and looking like they are all auditioning for the role of Hagrid from the Harry Potter series. Do the men in Billy’s town just suddenly turn into wizards after a certain age? At the end of the day, horror movie indie films are dime a dozen. You can find a few diamonds amongst the piles of sand. However, in this case, all you’ll be left with is confusion and more questions than there are answers for.