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The Skinwalkers: American Werewolves 2 (2023) Review

The Skinwalkers: American Werewolves 2 is a direct sequel to Small Town Monsters’ 2022 film American Werewolves and shares common ground with their other releases Werewolves Unearthed and The Dogman Triangle, both from last year.

I find these a releases a lot harder to take seriously than their films on topics like Bigfoot and UFOs, And, the reason for that should be fairly obvious. It’s one thing to say there’s a large creature, perhaps one of our ancestors, hiding in the planet’s few remaining large, dense forests, it’s another to talk about people magically becoming wolves, dogs, or whatever other animal local folklore might specify.

So you might expect Seth Breedlove and his crew would go out of their way to find any and all proof to support the existence of these creatures. Unfortunately, The Skinwalkers, like the other lycanthrope related segments, have less in the way of evidence or even research than the others.

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With no trekking out into the forest to explore Sasquatch sighting locations, casts of footprints or talks with local wildlife experts, the entire film becomes a procession of witnesses telling us what they saw with little to no evidence. This leaves it up to the viewer to gauge their sincerity on their words alone.

The witnesses in The Skinwalkers: American Werewolves 2 are residents of New Mexico, many of them Native Americans from the area around Farmington. And, unsurprisingly, many of them relate what they saw to tribal folklore, and perhaps equally relevant, more than one of them say that their father was a shaman.

One can look at this two ways, depending on your beliefs. Having a shaman in the household would draw spirits, and make one more inclined to encounter something like a skinwalker. Or if you are of a more cynical perspective, having folklore and ritual being a large part of your upbringing would make them more likely to see unusual things as supernatural rather than look for a more mundane explanation.

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Urban legends are sometimes referred to as modern folklore, and the first account we hear has echoes of the most common urban legends, that of the vanishing hitchhiker. Only, as the witness recalls, she and some friends were at a bonfire in the desert when an old native woman approached them and asked for a ride back to the reservation. After they dropped her off where she wanted to go, a seemingly empty field, she vanished from sight, but a huge doglike creature that stood as tall as their pickup truck appeared in the road.

Again I found myself wondering about the influence the stories the witnesses may have heard growing up may have had on their perception. Especially in combination with anything they may have been indulging in at the bonfire.

Other stories, like the woman who saw a strange wolflike creature trying to carry off one of her dogs one night, could be a simple misidentification. You can’t, however, say that about the bipedal elk a woman claims paced her car one night and has since appeared near her trailer on multiple occasions. A story like that, you have to either believe or disbelieve in its entirety.

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And it seems something of a missed opportunity that The Skinwalkers didn’t make any attempts to corroborate the stories we hear. The woman who claims to have seen the elk like creature says several people in the area have seen it. It would be interesting to hear what they had to say, and what they think it was they saw.

The stories, and some of the talk of Native American traditions on the subject are interesting, and some of them are on the creepy side, so The Skinwalkers certainly isn’t dull. But it’s also not particularly convincing either. There’s no evidence present to back any of the stories up, and nobody to corroborate any of the stories.

I enjoyed The Skinwalkers: American Werewolves 2, but I’m still quite skeptical about the existence of shape-shifters. You can make up your own mind when the film is released on April 6th. You can order it on Blu-ray or DVD on the Small Town Monsters website.

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