Road trips. They suck, right? You’re trapped in a confined space for hours, forced to take in the disgusting aromas that your carmates give off, and you have to hold your pee for long periods of time. That’s a nightmare in itself for me (I’m a girl–I pee A LOT). Just imagine that awful scenario but with an added evil camera to make the situation a hell of a lot worse. Director Sevé Schelenz cleverly uses the “found-footage” technique to deliver a creepy horror, Skew, a film about friendships and terrifying coincidences.
The film, which the director describes as a point-of-view film rather than found-footage, opens with our three main characters readying themselves for a road trip to a friend’s wedding. Simon is the man behind the camera and the audience mostly sees the horror through his eyes, so to speak, and through his reactions as he begins to witness strange occurrences.
As the road trip progresses, we get to learn more about the characters and get a good sense of who they are once they must deal with the terrifying circumstances occurring around them. The movie slowly builds up the tension, casually showing the audience certain things without exactly explaining them, so that you feel just as confused as Simon and the rest of the characters are.
The film also gives an explanation as to why the character is filming everything, and it also gives reason to why he continues to film everything despite the dangerous activity that’s happening around him and his friends. The camera is sort of like a lifeline, or a death sentence, and it becomes the characters “safety blanket” as he totes it around with him through the rest of the film. It’s a necessary device that is needed in order to move further in their destination.
The idea behind the story was creative and unique, using the one thing that the audience has as eyes and making it the evil behind the film. Director Schelenz doesn’t rely on heavy gore or over-the-top scenes to relay his message, rather he relies on the interactions between his characters and their reactions to the situation.
The ending is a little obscure and although I know the actual reasoning behind it (the director told me), I still feel like it can be interpreted whichever way the audience would like. The story mainly revolves around Simon and his feelings and even though we do not get to see his face, the audience does learn a lot about him through the things that he says and through his actions with his camera.
For a low budget “found-footage” horror, I think that it did fairly well on delivering something unique that horror fans would enjoy. It is very hard to make a creative found footage film, especially now, when there are so many of them and there aren’t many options for things that you can do with them. My only gripe with the film was some of the acting, particularly the character of Richard. However, I didn’t find the acting to be so incredibly bad that it took away from the film entirely.
I recommend Skew to horror fans who are looking for a different take on the found-footage subgenre, and are looking for a film that will prompt them to ask questions. If you don’t like abrupt or seemingly unanswered endings, you may be slightly angry with the film but the slow build-up of events and tensions make for a watchable treat.
To read more about the film and its director, check out my interview with Sevé Schelenz here.