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Skeleton Crew - horror DVD / slasher flick DVD review
SKELETON CREW Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 1 1/2 stars
Actors: Rita Suomalainen, Steve Porter, Anna Alkiomaa, Jonathan Rankle, Jani Lahti, Ville Arasalo
Directors: Tommi Lepola, Tero Molin   Distributor: Starz / Anchor Bay
DVD release: 21 July 2009   Runtime: 87 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English), Subtitles (English)

All my, life, I've dreamed of seeing a comedic version of Hostel filmed with Finnish actors speaking phonetic English. Now that I have, I feel I've reached some sort of cinematic Nirvana. Never mind that the film is really, really bad.

The basic premise: A small film crew filming a torture porn movie in an abandoned mental institution (note: IMDb informed me that the movie was filmed in an actual working institution [!]) uncovers a series of snuff films made by the former staff 35 years ago under the direction of a head doctor/torturer known as "The Auteur." The director of the film becomes obsessed with watching every last one of the uncovered reels - until he becomes convinced he is The Auteur reborn and starts picking off his crew, in graphic fashion, one by one.

The movie has a rather ugly clash in tone that keeps it from being effective - namely, it tries at times to be horror comedy, yet the torture scenes, both in the found films and by the new Auteur, are so graphic and painful they make the attempts at humor rather offensive.

In the directors' efforts to be clever, they get sloppy too often. Ghosts, for instance, are seen at one point, but are dropped from the story later. Why bring ghosts in, then, in the first place? Second, one character who is killed in gruesome fashion is not seen previously in the movie. I scrolled back in the film to try to find her, but could not. She seemingly appeared out of nowhere just to get offed. Third, a character trapped in a hole is burned to death by the Auteur when stage lights are lowered into the hole, yet the Auteur himself was seemingly standing right under them just seconds ago with nary a whiff of smoke.

I don't want to sound too unfair, but I don't understand why this movie was filmed in English when English is clearly not the first language of any lead in the movie. I know this sounds insensitive and politically incorrect of me to say this, but I challenge anyone to watch a few people who sound like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show running around screaming and not burst out laughing.

Fans of gore (and I know you're out there), might get a thrill out of some of the gruesome kills, but there are far better options out there than Skeleton Crew. Maybe Skeleton Crew might work if the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew got a hold of it, but other than that, look elsewhere.
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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