Sci-Fi Channel Premiere: Skeleton Man Review

Credit has to be given to actors and/or actresses who star in a movie like this. To get through even a short shoot without cracking a smile on a screen has to be brutal. No one in their right mind could take a movie like this seriously. It doesn't even matter how old you are. This insipid piece of work is, almost without question, the worst thing to happen to the Sci-Fi Channel since Farscape fans started writing hate mail.

During an ancient Indian ritual, one of their own goes crazy, killing everyone in their tribe. Brought back to life after researchers dug up their burial site, Cottonmouth Joe (AKA the Skeleton Man) begins a killing spree. After slaughtering two special ops in training, a full crew is sent in to figure out what's going on and to put a stop to it.

It doesn't take long to figure out that "Skeleton Man" ranks down there (or is it up there?) on your personal "worst all time" movie list. See, this Skeleton Man is actually some guy wrapped up in a garbage bag (they probably didn't even splurge and get Glad bags either) riding around on horse back through what is supposed to be a secluded forest. His face is a skull, likely one picked up at a local Wal-Mart during the Halloween season. He manages to slaughter nearly every member on a trained Delta Force team with no problem, take down a helicopter with a single wooden arrow (really), and come back to life with a shiny new axe in tow.

It's not just the problems with our Skeleton friend that makes this movie so unbearably bad. It also doesn't make a lick of sense. For instance, Casper Van Dien follows the bony guy out of the forest onto a desolate road. Conveniently, a truck driver gets out of a cab right where they happen to be exiting. Van Dien gets in for no apparent reason whatsoever, goes all of 15 feet, then slams on the brakes to avoid an oncoming car and the tank on the back blows up. Huh?

But wait fellow readers, there's more entertainment to be had. You simply have to break down into a fit of laughter when the old Indian sitting in the middle of nowhere asks the troops for beans. Of course, he doesn't like their beans because they're "army beans." Skeleton man, being the highly efficient killer he is, decides to stay away from them while the wise old Indian tells his story of how Cottonmouth Joe (where that name comes from, well, no one has a clue) came to be. How he actually came back to life to begin this rampage is never explained.

It's still not over yet. It's very easy to imagine a crack team of writers sitting down at a table coming up with this stuff, thinking about the poor jackasses who are going to sit down and watch this. See, though the entire movie takes place in a forest, about ten minutes before the big finale, Skeleton Man must've gotten tired of killing people in the trees. With one simple cut of film, we end up inside a chemical plant. It stays in tune with the movie (as in "nothing in this film makes sense") and that remains the only logical explanation.

Still want more? How about that garbage bag that's supposed to be a cape? It manages to become all tattered in one scene then completely restores itself to the original shine without a single scratch in the next. This happens say, oh, around twenty times. This Delta Force group comes into a life or death struggle without even so much as a walkie-talkie or any other form of communication. Finally, as far as we know, good ol' Cottonmouth could just be one of those novelty skeletons inter-cut with footage of a real hand. You'd never know the difference and it doesn't make the movie any more digestible either way.

Comments (1)

Everytime I see the captain (Michael Rooker), I can only think of two scenes from Mallrats: licking the nasty chocolate off his hand and dancing around naked in his bedroom.

Another good (bad) Casper Van Dien movie is Dracula 3000. Just like Skeleton Man, the special effects rock. Also, Coolio is fantastic. ;)

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