05th Mar2021

‘Skin Collector’ DVD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Danielle Harris, John Jarratt, Casper Van Dien, Rae Dawn Chong, Brad Harris, Valerie Harper | Written by Robert D. Weinbach | Directed by Julian Richards

A movie featuring two actors I really like, John Jarrett (Wolf Creek) and Danielle Harris (Hatchet 2 & 3, Halloween 4), as the leads had to be good, right? With Skin Collector I was going to find out.

I can say that when those two actors on screen together the film is at its best and the last third of the film features this a lot. They don’t necessarily have perfect chemistry but they are both very good actors and are putting in good performances, so it does work for the most part. Unfortunately, they are fighting against a really poor script, which at times has lines that I just shook my head at. Lines that it doesn’t feel like anybody would say in ‘real life’, let alone these characters.

Danielle Harris is no stranger to playing the final girl and there’s always a believability in her playing the victim and fighting back against a killer. When her character is in a forced love story and other almost pointless parts of the script, the actress doesn’t fair quite so well but this is definitely more on the script and not her.

Similar could be said of John Jarratt, who played the brilliant, funny and scary killer Mick Taylor in the Wolf Creek franchise but somehow, for parts of this movie, he does not come across as menacing or scary as the killer Franklin Rood. The characters obviously aren’t exactly the same but a guy who is so great at playing a murderer should come across a bit better. Jarratt just about drags things into something positive though. His charisma comes through and there are glimpses of his greatness there, they are just few and far between.

It is a basic serial-killer-type story on its own and despite the Skin Collector title (changed from the original title ‘Shiver’), the killer doesn’t really collect skin exactly. A more apt name for the film would be something connected to garrotte, as this is the weapon of choice to kill his victims and one of the most original elements of the film. The garrotte is a piece of why with handles that can turn to tighten and on many occasions here, decapitate its victims. This does bring up one amusing moment in the film when the police officer (played by Casper Van Dien of Starship Troopers fame but of very little else good at all) is told a garrotte is used but explained they thought he was using a knife. I would have thought the police could work out the difference but not these ones!

There’s plenty of gore and while some of the practical effects are okay, the severed heads look decent, there’s also the always terrible CGI blood. At less than an hour and a half, Skin Collector is at least kept short and the pace is quick. You do feel like it is going to end about four times but it keeps going, including an awfully cheesy and bad ending (which is how I’d describe the script too).

Made in 2012, some people will have waited almost ten years for this UK DVD release but most of them will be disappointed. It would be much much worse without its two leads but even then, it’s your run-of-the-mill serial killer movie.

** 2/5

Skin Collector is out on DVD and VOD now from Dance Macabre.


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