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SKINWALKERS – Andrew Lockington

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Skinwalkers is a Canadian horror-action film about werewolves, directed by James Isaac and starring Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, and Tom Jackson. It follows the fortunes of a young boy named Timothy (Matthew Knight) who, unbeknown to him, is a member of a ‘good’ werewolf family, and who upon his thirteenth birthday will begin to fulfil an ancient prophecy and “cure” his family and other werewolves of their lycanthropy. However, a gang of other werewolves, who have embraced their flesh-eating ways, are searching for the boy, determined to stop the prophecy from coming true. It’s an interesting premise which, unfortunately, lost something in translation between the page and the screen, and generated some surprisingly negative reviews.

One aspect which has stood up well, however, is the score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington. Lockington spent much of the early part of his career working with fellow Canuck Mychael Danna, which has clearly stood him in good stead; Skinwalkers is a generally impressive contemporary horror score all around. A combination of a large modern orchestra with subtle electronics and all manner of tribal percussion, the score starts fairly slowly with shifting orchestral textures in “Cabin Meeting”, and even some brief familial lightness in “Huguenot”. However, after a taste of things to come in the exciting “Gunfight”, the score bursts into life in “Feeding”, a breathless cue with a memorable theme, and from then on the music barely lets up.

Cues such as “Hospital Battle”, “Can’t Go Back”, “Jonas’s Trap” and the impressive “Midnight” combine seething action with skittery, nervous tension that seems to rise up out of nowhere, while elsewhere Lockington’s intelligent use of synthesizers seems to echo the best work of composers like David Arnold and John Powell – notably pieces like “Red Moon”. The thematically rich finale, “Transformation”, is especially satisfying.

The soundtrack was released initially as a digital download by Mikael Carlsson’s groundbreaking label MovieScore Media, and thereafter in a small run as a pressed CD; either way, it’s definitelyworth checking out.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • Forest Presence (1:26)
  • Cabin Meeting (4:00)
  • Raising Timothy (2:49)
  • Huguenot (2:37)
  • Varek Arrives (1:50)
  • Gunfight (3:45)
  • Legend (4:10)
  • Feeding (2:41)
  • Lake (3:04)
  • Hospital Battle (5:49)
  • Red Moon (4:11)
  • Can’t Go Back (1:55)
  • Cat Returns (1:35)
  • Jonas’s Trap (2:34)
  • Midnight (5:28)
  • Transformation (2:09)
  • Epilogue (1:45)
  • Destitutorial (performed by Braintoy) (3:32)

Running Time: 55 minutes 22 seconds

MovieScore Media MMS-07008 (2007)

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